Gohmert: Quid pro quo 'nothing new' in U.S. history

U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Tyler, answers questions Friday from members of the Longview-Greggton Rotary Club after speaking to the club at the Hilton Garden Inn in Longview.

Needed infrastructure and trade agreements likely won’t happen as long as Democrats press for impeaching President Donald Trump, Republican Congressman Louie Gohmert of Tyler said Friday.

Gohmert appeared before Longview-Greggton Rotary Club members at the Hilton Garden Inn.

Meanwhile Friday, former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch told lawmakers that Trump pressured the State Department to oust her from her position “based, as best as I can tell, on unfounded and false claims by people with clearly questionable motives.”

According to the Associated Press, Democrats are investigating Trump’s pleas to Ukrainian officials to launch investigations of political rival Joe Biden and his family and to probe Ukraine’s involvement in the 2016 presidential election.

After Gohmert’s speech to Longview Rotarians, the News-Journal asked the congressman his thoughts about the impeachment efforts.

He said Biden, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for president, “is on video saying he got a Ukrainian prosecutor fired with a threat of taking a billion-dollar government loan back to the United States if they didn’t fire the prosecutor.”

Gohmert called Biden’s alleged actions a “quid pro quo” — one action in return for another — and problematic, but he said it’s nothing new and has happened under presidents dating from Trump back through the history of the U.S.

“There is nothing new about that, but what I’m concerned about is the contention that no executive branch president, employee (or attorney general) can investigate somebody because they are running for president like Joe Biden is,” Gohmert said.

“If we could spend the next year before the election passing an infrastructure bill, getting the U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement passed (or) things that will help the country, we’re going to be a whole lot better off,” he said, “and, frankly, I think the Democrats would have a lot more to run on than hating Trump if we got together and got some of these things. … I’m still trying to be an optimist and hoping we can get some of those things done.”

With regard to the nation’s divided state, Gohmert said, “We really do need to come together and learn that it’s OK to disagree, but don’t keep trying to get people impeached if they haven’t committed an impeachable offense and don’t keep trying to destroy people with whom you disagree, and that’s a problem now.”

Gohmert, who represents the 1st Congressional District of Texas, said he’s never seen the nation this divided, adding that though there were riots in the late 1960s and early 1970s, “that seemed like such a small part of the population.”

The division politics he’s seeing today is not healthy for the country, he said.

“It’s going to continue to be a problem until we come back together. I saw the way our country came together after 9/11. For a few months, people were filling up our churches. People were coming together. We prayed together, sang together. ... Out of that act of evil — about 3,000 people, precious American lives lost — we came together for a while,” Gohmert said, “but it didn’t last.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.