By KIM CHANDLER Associated Press
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — U.S. Sen. Doug Jones of Alabama said Thursday that he will not rush to judgment about recent allegations against President Donald Trump and urged people to have patience “to get all of the facts.”
Speaking to reporters and later on the Senate floor, the Alabama Democrat expressed concern but also criticized what he described as a rush to partisan political corners over the allegations that Trump urged a foreign leader to investigate a political rival.
“I want to emphasize that we are nowhere close to having the full picture of what happened here. The complaint is simply that: a statement of allegations,” Jones told reporters.
Jones said that as a former federal prosecutor and defense attorney, he believes it is unlikely there will be an immediate smoking gun to condemn or exonerate Trump.
“I think it is incredibly irresponsible that some politicians have already seemed to have made up their minds about this situation based on whichever way they think the political wind is blowing or, quite frankly, which political party they belong to,” Jones said. “I think I’m a pretty straight shooter about all of this. I am not going to rush to judgment here without knowing all the facts.”
Asked if he supported an impeachment inquiry in the House, Jones responded that was the prerogative of the House.
However, Jones says he supports an effort “to get to the facts.”
The inquiry centers on Trump’s conversation with the president of Ukraine. A rough transcript released by the White House shows Trump pressing the leader of Ukraine to “look into” Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
Republicans members of Alabama’s congressional delegation have defended Trump. Republican Rep. Mo Brooks tweeted a picture of a gigantic pile of excrement in a field to describe his thoughts on the allegations.
U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell, the lone Democrat in Alabama’s House delegation, considers the impeachment inquiry an appropriate action, a spokeswoman said Thursday.
Some of Jones’ GOP rivals in the 2020 election lashed out at the allegations.
“I will vehemently fight these efforts to impeach President Trump. The radical Squad has taken over the Democrat Party, and the American people will see right through this nonsense,” Rep. Bradley Byrne, who is running in the GOP Senate primary, said in a statement.
Sometimes described as the Senate’s most endangered Democrat, Jones is expected to face a tough reelection fight in 2020 in a state where Trump remains popular.
Asked if he was concerned about an impeachment inquiry becoming an issue in his 2020 Senate race, Jones said he was frustrated by the media framing the issue in “political terms.”
“I don’t look at this in a political term. I don’t look at it going into a 2020 election. This is a constitutional issue that we have. … I am not going to worry about an election for me or anyone else going into 2020. We’re going to let this thing play out and we will do everything we can to represent the people and uphold my oath,” Jones said.