Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) insisted on Thursday that Republicans wouldn’t be calling for the impeachment of a Democratic president accused of the same actions as President Trump.
As fired FBI Director James Comey was before a Senate committee, accusing the president of trying to influence a criminal investigation, #Ryan dismissed the notion from a reporter at his weekly Capitol press conference that Republicans would be suggesting impeachment at this point.
“No. I don’t think we would, actually. I don’t think that’s at all the case,” Ryan said.
Ryan expressed sympathy for Trump, pointing to Comey’s testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee detailing that he told Trump on multiple occasions that he was not personally under investigation.
“What I got out of that testimony is, we now know why he was so frustrated when the FBI director told him three times there’s no investigation of him, yet that speculation was allowed to continue,” Ryan said.
The Speaker suggested that Trump’s behavior might be a result of not having experience in government before becoming president. The night before, Ryan said on MSNBC that it was “obviously” inappropriate for Trump to ask Comey for his loyalty over a private dinner at the White House.
“The president’s new at this. He’s new to government. So, he probably wasn’t steeped in the long-running protocols that establish the relationships between [the Department of Justice], the FBI and White Houses. He’s just new to this,” Ryan said.
But Ryan acknowledged later: “I’m not saying it’s an acceptable excuse. It’s just my observation.”