To roars of booing and less cheering, U.S. Rep. Don Bacon told constituents at a Saturday town hall meeting that he’s seen no illegal behavior by President Donald Trump regarding Ukraine.
Bacon, a Republican who represents Omaha and central and western Sarpy County, addressed the topic of impeachment head-on: “There is no law that’s been broken,” he said repeatedly, to a smattering of cheers and a roar of boos.
The crowd was rowdy at times, with people yelling in opposition and others showing support for Bacon.
“In what circumstances will you put country ahead of party?” one woman asked.
“Every single time,” Bacon replied, to laughter and boos.
According to an official White House memorandum of a July phone conversation, Trump urged the Ukrainian president to look into Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s son. Trump earlier withheld military aid approved for Ukraine.
U.S. election law specifically prohibits foreign involvement in federal, state and local elections, saying it is illegal for someone to solicit, accept or receive a contribution, financial donation or anything of value from a foreign national.
Bacon said that he doesn’t condone the president’s actions but that he didn’t think they were illegal.
He also called for House Democrats to hold a vote on an impeachment inquiry, which would allow Republicans to subpoena witnesses and Trump’s lawyer to cross-examine them.
But, he said, if that vote were held, he would vote “no.”
The town hall, held in Papillion, drew about 250 people Saturday morning.
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The event was Bacon’s 15th town hall since taking office in 2017, and he followed his usual format: Attendees wrote questions on slips of paper, and two civic leaders from the area read the questions to Bacon. After the congressman’s response, the questioner could ask a follow-up.
The moderators even read a question from David Pantos, who is a top staffer for Democrat Kara Eastman’s campaign to unseat Bacon.
Bacon addressed other topics including:
One woman asked if Bacon would sponsor comprehensive immigration reform or work toward reform in his bipartisan problem-solving committee in Congress.
Bacon said he has supported two immigration reform acts that didn’t pass and would consider supporting a comprehensive reform. He also stressed the need for additional border security and quicker hearings for detained immigrants.
Another attendee asked about reducing the deficit. Noting America’s aging population, Bacon said there needs to be an honest discussion about mandatory spending such as Social Security.
“How do we save and secure Medicare and Social Security? Because if we do nothing, it goes insolvent.”
Other audience members expressed concerns about health care costs. Bacon announced that the state would see a reduction in health care premiums for people on the market next year. He attributed the change to increased competition among insurance companies.