House Republican says Trump’s conversation with Zelensky is ‘not OK’

Republican Rep. Mike Turner said Thursday that the controversial conversation between President Donald Trump and Ukraine’s President is “not OK,” a notable comment as most of his colleagues remain largely defensive toward Trump after the House launched an impeachment inquiry.

“I’ve read the complaint, and I’ve read the transcript of conversation with the President and the president of the Ukraine,” Turner said during a House Intelligence Committee hearing with the acting director of national intelligence. “Concerning that conversation, I want to say to the President: This is not OK. That conversation is not OK.”

“I think it’s disappointing to the American public when they read the (conversation’s) transcript,” the Ohio Republican said.

Turner’s critical comments add to a small but growing list of remarks by Republicans who have expressed concern over a July 25 phone conversation between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in which Trump pressured him to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter. The conversation with Zelensky has led to a House impeachment inquiry into the President’s actions, with Democrats claiming Trump abused his office by asking Ukraine to investigate his political opponent. There is no evidence of wrongdoing by either Joe or Hunter Biden.

As acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire testified before the House panel on Thursday, many congressional Republicans told CNN that they hadn’t yet read the complaint, which was released to the public earlier in the day.

Among them were Sens. James Lankford of Oklahoma and John Hoeven of North Dakota, who both said an appropriations meeting prevented them from reviewing the complaint.

A key standout is Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, who said Wednesday he saw “some very troubling things” in reading the White House transcript of the Trump-Zelensky conversation. On Sunday, Romney tweeted “if the President asked or pressured Ukraine’s president to investigate his political rival, either directly or through his personal attorney, it would be troubling in the extreme. Critical for the facts to come out.”

CNN’s Ted Barrett and Maeve Reston contributed to this report.