HUNTINGTON — Speaking to reporters Thursday, U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said President Donald Trump should allow all available facts to come forward and not intervene in an impeachment inquiry currently being conducted by House Democrats.
He cautioned that no one should take sides on Trump’s culpability until all those facts have been brought to light.
Manchin addressed the ongoing impeachment inquiry following a groundbreaking ceremony for a new housing facility at the Hershel “Woody” Williams VA Medical Center on Thursday.
At the center of the House’s impeachment inquiry is Trump’s handling of a July 25 call with Ukraine’s president, in which he asked for Ukraine to investigate unsubstantiated crimes committed by Hunter Biden, son of former Vice President Joe Biden.
Manchin said an investigation is due anytime a foreign entity is suspected of interfering, or being asked to interfere, in American government processes. However, he said no one should jump to conclusions before all the facts are presented within the impeachment inquiry.
“I’m saying don’t make an assumption just because you heard something or because of your political affiliation,” Manchin said. “Don’t come to a conclusion when you haven’t seen any facts, and I haven’t seen the facts yet so I don’t know.”
If the House does call for a vote and succeeds in voting for Trump’s impeachment, the matter would ultimately come down to a trial held in the Senate in regards to Trump’s ultimate removal from office.
Manchin said he believes Trump is taking the process seriously, but urged him not to interfere in the impeachment inquiry. Democrats in the House have warned Trump officials from withholding evidence or testimony, which they said would be used as proof of obstruction of justice against them.
“I think he’s taking it seriously. I think that’s why you see him acting the way he is,” Manchin said. “Someone needs to tell him — I would tell him as a West Virginian — that, ‘Mr. President, let the process go through the process. You can’t intervene and stop the process.’”
Manchin also addressed at least 10 suspicious deaths at the Clarksburg VA Medical Center, two of which have been ruled as homicides. Federal authorities have said it’s been determined the two homicide victims were not at risk for death when they checked into the hospital. Postmortem examinations found evidence of lethal levels of insulin and neither homicide victim was in need of insulin.
“I’m concerned no one’s even been arrested,” Manchin said.
Manchin said he’s met with federal prosecutors who have explained the complicated nature of the death investigations. They have asked Manchin to hold off on sparking a Senate investigation to not interfere in their efforts, he said.
“With my seat on the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, we have a right to do this, but we don’t want to impede on the investigation by the U.S. attorney,” he said. “So I defer to him through his process and I’m encouraging him to get it accelerated.”
In the meantime, the committee will look at hospital procedures to determine if protocols were being followed there. He said he would do everything within his power to discover who or what is involved in the deaths and bring them to justice.