Wittman at Montclair Family Restaurant Ron Reaves

Rep. Rob Wittman, R-1st District, left, talks with Ron Reaves, right, about President Donald Trump during Wittman's stop at the Montclair Family Restaurant on Friday, Oct. 4. 

During a stop in Prince William County Friday, Congressman Rob Wittman declined to cast judgment on President Trump for asking foreign leaders to investigate his political rivals and further said he sees “no quid pro quo” in the president’s July conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Wittman, R-1st, made the comments during a sometimes heated 90-minute visit to the Montclair Family Restaurant, a neighborhood diner on Va. 234 in Dumfries that is a favorite of visiting candidates and elected officials. 

Wittman, now in his sixth full term, isn’t on the ballot until 2020. But earlier this summer, he launched a series of morning restaurant visits in his sprawling district, which stretches from the Eastern Shore to Nokesville, that he calls “Breakfasts with Rob.”

Wittman at Montclair Family Restaurant

Rep. Rob Wittman, R-1st District, right, high-fives Isaac Slayter, 12, center, during Wittman's visit to Montclair Family Restaurant on Friday, Oct. 4. 

The stop in Dumfries, a more Democratic-leaning corner of the 1st District, came a day after Trump used a meeting with reporters on the White House lawn to urge Chinese leaders to investigate former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden. Trump also reiterated that he believes the Ukraine should “start a major investigation into the Bidens.”

Critics of the president say Trump’s public comments are an effort to frame his requests of foreign officials as attempts to root out corruption rather than as pleas for political favors aimed at interfering in the U.S. election, which would be illegal.

Those developments prompted a handful of unhappy 1st District constituents to confront Wittman during the Friday morning gathering. 

Cher Muzyk, of Gainesville, pressed Wittman whether he thinks “it’s ok for the president of the United States to stand on the White House lawn and ask another country to interfere in our elections.”

Wittman responded by raising questions about the younger Biden’s business dealings. 

“Wherever there’s a situation of potential political corruption, I think it needs to be investigated,” Wittman said, referring to the Bidens.

“Investigated by an authoritarian government?” Muzyk retorted.

“I want to make sure any issue of corruption is investigated,” Wittman said, adding: “The question is, do you think it’s ok for Hunter Biden to receive $50,000 a month to represent a Ukrainian energy company? Would he have gotten that if his name was Hunter Smith?... Those are the issues that I think we need to take a look at.”

On Friday, Ukraine announced an audit of a 2016 investigation into the owner of the natural-gas company that named Biden to its board in 2014. The probe is one of several originally undertaken by past Ukraine officials that will now be reviewed by the country’s new top prosecutor. There has been no evidence of wrongdoing so far, however, by either Hunter or Joe Biden in connection with the company, according to several news reports. 

Muzyk noted the charges against the Bidens have been debunked and went on to further press Wittman, asking if he is prepared to “go down with the Trump ship.”

“I want all the information, regardless of whether it’s information on President Trump, whether it’s accusations on anybody else,” Wittman said. “All those things need to be vetted for me to determine whether is there an issue there. We are a nation of laws.”

During the exchange, another constituent, Ron Reaves, asked Wittman if he believes Trump “is an honest man with high moral character.”

Wittman said he would leave that up to the American people.

“I think Donald Trump is the president of the United States, and it’s up to the people of the nation to judge him. I am not there to judge that,” Wittman said. “…The president is his own person and he will have to be judged on his words and his actions.”

Wittman at Montclair Family Restaurant Don Brownlee

Don Brownlee, right, of Montclair, speaks with Rep. Rob Wittman, R-1st District, about President Trump during Wittman's stop at the Montclair Family Restaurant on Friday, Oct. 4.

Wittman: No quid pro quo

In an interview after the exchange, Wittman said he reviewed the transcript of Trump’s July 25 conversation with Zelensky and saw “no quid pro quo there.” 

“I looked at it, I don’t see any quid pro quo there. The president had a conversation [and] is asking for all issues of corruption to be looked at, and that’s what President Zelensky was elected on, looking at and sorting out corruption in Ukraine, so I think that’s what the president is asking for,” Wittman said. 

Wittman said he’d like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, to bring a formal resolution of impeachment to the full House. He also said he would wait until the formal articles of impeachment are filed to decide whether the president’s actions meet the standard for impeachment under the U.S. Constitution: treason, bribery, high crimes or misdemeanors.

“What we would like is for there to be an open and fair process where both sides can present evidence,” Wittman said. “If you only do an inquiry of impeachment, which is what the speaker is doing right now, it doesn’t allow the other side to provide their information.”

Wittman at Montclair Family Restaurant

Michael O'Brien, of Dumfries, left, talks with Rep. Rob Wittman, R-1st District, during Wittman's visit to Montclair Family Restaurant on Friday, Oct. 4.

Michael O’Brien, of Dumfries, and Don Brownlee, of Montclair, said they also came to ask Wittman about his stance on Trump. O’Brien said he is still troubled by Trump’s actions during the 2016 campaign when he made fun of a disabled reporter, among other things.

Brownlee said he respects Wittman, despite their political differences, but can’t abide his “silence” in response to Trump suggesting that public servants – such as the Ukraine whistleblower -- are traitors.

“I just think that’s unconscionable,” Brownlee said. “…We can have political differences…. But there’s certain things, like calling brave Americans traitors. Everyone in public office has an obligation to speak up when [the president] starts calling people traitors.”

O’Brien said Wittman told him he would not judge Trump, just as he would not judge a Democrat if one were president.

“I guess that’s fair. If he’s not going to judge people, that’s fine,” O’Brien said. “But I expect him to be consistent no matter who’s in office.”

Not everyone at the event was there to talk about impeachment. Jenny Brymer said she came to thank Wittman for helping her business deal with a federal agency. Noah and Isaac Slayter said they came to thank Wittman for his efforts against abortion.

“We’re really very happy he’s an advocate of the pro-life movement, and we’re really grateful for his support in that arena,” said Noah Slayer, 17.

Reach Jill Palermo at jpalermo@fauquier.com

  

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(14) comments

Dajanet

Who'd be against ferreting out corruption? What's suspect is that it appears trump's only focus is Biden, and we all know that there is a lot more corruption than that. That's what leaves Americans suspect.



Trump has not asked other countries for help investigating corruption for anyone else--just the one person who likely will be his opponent in the next election.



Also, why just the Biden kid? Ivanka and Jared made $82 million last year while they were both government employees. That too seems kind of suspect, and worthy of a review from the Ethics Czar I'd think. I know when I was a government employee if my taxes showed I made $82 million, I'd be suspect. Plus since her dad became president, Ivanka has secured 21 trademarks from China wile working on our dime, and she also got several trademarks from Philippines and other countries. Jared, as a government employee--assistant to the president--secured a $90 million loan from an offshore company that has hidden the names of owners, and he has a $100 million loan pending from Saudi/United Arab Emirates companies. So if trump wants to investigate corruption and looks only to Biden, in fairness, should not others, including the trump children also be investigated?

ccw

Unless you follow Trump on Twitter you are hearing about Biden from the liberal mainstream media.



The reason you're hearing about Biden on the liberal mainstream media is that President Trump “tweaks” their fuse just enough to keep Biden's name (and corruption) in the news. Trump knows that the liberal mainstream media would never mention Biden's corrupt deals for his son while he was Vice President. That is a very high risk election year danger because the liberal mainstream media cheered the entire thing on as it happened.



A Biden for President ticket would rob way too much time and resources away from the liberal mainstream media's determination to destroy Trump. They want rid of Biden as quickly as possible. If President Trump didn't bring Biden's situation up the liberal mainstream media would simply do away with him the same way they polished off crazy Bernie for Hillary Clinton in 2016.



Here's where things are. The liberal Democrats have allowed the mainstream media to box them into a no-win corner. With the possible exception of Warren their field of candidates are so far to the extreme radical left that even the everyday Democrats are not willing to go there. They don't want to vote for Trump and or any Republicans which leaves them with few if any reasonable choices. So what they will do is the same thing any sane person would. They look at their wallets plus what Trump has succeeded in doing for our country since his election. In 2020 they either don't vote or they vote for Trump and go about living their lives as best as possible.



As far as the other issues you brought forward most, if not all of them have been pursued several times by the liberals and it backfired into their faces each time. There has never been any there there.



Nothing in politics is certain. But considering politically irrational behavior and the frustration it produces even the most mild mannered among us reaches the point where they will rise up against and stop the madness. If I were to make a wager it is that the liberal mainstream media and Democrat party are going to have a very bad 2020 Election Day.

Bill Card

A US Congressman comes to a local diner to chat with residents and it's "Trump, Trump, Trump." Congressman Wittman has been serving his community since 1986. He has degrees in Public Policy (PHD), Health Policy (Masters), and Biology (BS). He's on the Armed Services and Natural Resources Committee. He's been a tireless defender of the Chesapeake Bay, our Military, and our pocket books.



He's approachable, knowledgeable, and friendly. Given all the things people could have asked him about . . . . . well I'm disgusted with the way the news covered it and with the people that badgered him about these phony controversies with the President.



Thank you for coming to Prince William Congressman Wittman. I know you'll be back.

ccw

Bill I am glad that you stood up for Congressman Wittman and every one of his accomplishments and character attributes you mentioned are true. But there is one ultra critical check mark missing from his portfolio.



Congressman Wittman sided against President Trump with the liberal Democrats to defeat the Republican compromise immigration bill which intended to beef up the Department of Homeland Security's situational awareness and operational control of our southern border.



I do not believe that there is any better example of total political confusion and disconnect from what our country needs plus what the people want than immigration control and border security. Giving the benefit of doubt more than likely Congressman Wittman felt that all things considered with Virginia turning blue he did the right thing for the greater good.



Nothing could miss the truth any further. Virginia is now a blue state because of the dense liberal population of three concentrated areas of Virginia. Northern Virginia, especially by sheer numbers Prince William County, Richmond and the Tidewater; Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Chesapeake cities.



Outside of these areas little more than 25 miles you will quickly understand that the majority of Virginia's citizens despise with a passion the way our elected officials are using immigration and border security for their own self aggrandizement. They hate being pitted against each other and against good people from other nations around the world. And most of all they hate when their representatives come down on the side of defending the immigrants trapped by the messes they, the representatives created.



When it comes time for me to vote for Congressman Wittman's reelection his decision to go against President Trump with the Democrats on immigration is what I will remember, not the many other positive things you mentioned about the man. Up until that decision I had enormous respect for Congressman Wittman, including other times he opposed Trump. Here though it was his choice, not my or others' mule headed determination that may add up to his defeat as well.



Hop on the midnight oil wagon boys I done rambled out another one fer ye. :)

Louf

The problem is we have the left wanting to change the narrative to fit their vision of the world as they want it and not as it truly is. Based on the actual call the President was in his right to ask about Biden (Don't forget that pesky anti-crime treaty that Bill Clinton signed into law back in 1999). I want to remind everyone that in our jurisprudence system you are innocent until proven guilty. You would be wise to remember that.

Jim McCarthy

Explain why the Trump supporters refuse to allow my "lyin' eyes" to tell me what I read was a quid pro quo? What lie did I miss? What untruth? What corrupt media statement? BTW my vision is 20/20. Help!!!

ccw

If you really want help the answers to your questions are simple. One you people (liberals) can dish it out to others in bulk quantities. But you have zero capability of tolerating even the mildest dose of your own medicine.



Two the liberal Democrat Party has only one thing to run for it's 2020 campaign platform and that is an ever intensifying hatred of President Trump. And what that does is exponentially increase and or magnify your frustration because you know that there is no way items one and two combined can defeat President trump's reelection next year.



From reading the posts in articles here and on sister publications it appears that about the last thing available to keep you guys from going berserk is to mimic crows that try to mob a hawk into submission. As far as the crows know the hunt works great until the hawk decides it has had enough and serves notice by taking one of the crows down and out. Hence the liberal mainstream media, Democrats and Anti-Trump activists have recently began to flood the TV stations, newspapers and online communities with an enormous mobbing campaign designed to turn Trump's supporters against him plus destroy the man before he is reelected next year.



Like everything else they've tried since Trump's campaign and subsequent election is that it isn't working. It never will. That is what you missed and your perfect vision failed to see. The lyin truth is that your party leaders, not Trump or his supporters brought you to the brink of wits end where you are at now. Do you have the courage to understand or accept? That is your problem to figure out. Frankly I could care less what your final answers to your own questions are. Find more crows to join in the mobbing? Go for it!



Screed done.

ccw

Make up your mind Congressman Wittman either you support President Trump or you don't! 90% of the time doesn't cut it especially when that 7, 8 or 9% of the time are issues that are critical in our country as well as Virginia.

President trump needs 100% of your support 100% of the time. Your hopping back on the bus when it's conveniently clear that the liberal Democrats are self destructing, loosing the support of the unions, big business owners, Wall Street Brokers, Investors, large portions of blacks and Hispanics doesn't fool or seduce your constituents one iota.

Of course 100% support 100% of the time would normally be considered extreme. But we are no longer living in what was always considered normal in America. Extreme in every sense of the word 100%+ for over 3 years straight is exactly what the liberal mainstream media and Democrat Party have been dishing out. Nothing has been too extreme or too radical enough to cause them to ease back on the throttle. And nothing, I repeat nothing whatsoever about the typical, traditional smiling round shoulders broad butt Mr. Nice Guy Republican responses has been or is worth a tinkers (bleap) as far as winning the game this time. A lot more that your seventh term is at stake now!

zeus1337

Supporting the president 100% of the time even when he is wrong is not only "extreme" as you call it, it is plain stupid. The man shut down the government because Ann Coulter said something "nasty" about him on Twitter. 100% supporting Trump is 100% treason. The man wants to shoot people at the border in the legs to "slow them down". The man is a psychopath, whom if we support 100% of what he wants, we will be 100% complicit in becoming just like every other country that shoots and kills protesters. Giving Trump 100% support when he is trying to damage the country and hurt his opponents is sinful and you are effectively making Trump dictator-king by doing nothing about his insanity.

ccw

You are a perfect example of why I said what I did! Full of distortions, lies, dysfunctional hatred, snide insults and vindictiveness straight out of the socialistic liberal mainstream media and Democrat Party's propaganda playbook.



I figured my comment my snag a fish or two, but I never dreamed that it would pull a huge stinking whale out of the polluted swamp!

Jim McCarthy

OK then!! Defeating distortion, lies, dysfunctional hatred, snide insults and vindictiveness with ranting screeds does the job. Closing with name calling seals the deal.

ed1

It is obvious even from Trump's notes of the call that he broke the law and requested "a favor" from Ukraine. Whittman and other Republicans need to reclaim the party from this third rate showman with no morals or ethics. They risk irreparable damage to the party by continuing to support Trump. There is nothing he has done to make America greater than it already was; the economy has not changed trajectory since he came to power and the only things he has done are to weaken environmental protections and weaken the functionality of the 3 branches of the government.

zcxnissan

Actually the economy has gotten better it was stagnating under Obama. How did he weaken environmental protections? Instead of rejuvenating business. 3 branches of govt. are separate and the only ones weakening those 3 branches are the ones preaching endless and bogus impeachment inquiries.

ed1

No, it wasn't stagnating. Unemployment trend is now bottoming out and growth continues at the same pace. "How did he weaken environmental protections?". Seriously? Start with clean water and fuel economy standards and work from there.

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