Francis Rooney is the rare Republican opened at Trump's impeachment

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Rooney, a member of the House's foreign affairs committee at the center of the investigation, said on Friday he had not yet come to a conclusion that the president had committed a crime that forced his removal from office , an impressive vision among the defenders of the Republican Chamber of Briscola.

"Every time one of these ambassadors comes and speaks, we learn much more," the deputy said.

Rooney is not a typical House-and-file Republican. Before winning his first election in 2016, the wealthy 65-year-old company oversaw construction projects that included not only presidential libraries for both George HW Bush and George W. Bush, and stadiums for the Texas Rangers, Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans, but the Capitol Visitor's Center, where the witnesses of the investigation rush to enter a secure facility and give their testimonies. He is now at least in his third career, having been US ambassador to the Holy See under the last president of the GOP.

The president followed other critics of his own party, including Senator Mitt Romney of Utah, who Trump called a "pompous" ass in a Twitter post. " He added "#IMPEACHMITTROMNEY" on another. But Rooney doesn't seem to care.

Republicans worried by the confirmation of Mulvaney Trump sought the exchange of favors with the Ukraine

"What will you do to me? You can say bad things but it is – it is just what it is," said the deputy. "Let's just talk about the facts."

Rooney acknowledged that some Republicans might fear being reprimanded by the party if they expressed skepticism about the president, saying "it could be the end of things for me … depending on how things are going".

"I didn't accept this job to keep it," he said.

& # 39; Not here to waste time & # 39;

The next day, Rooney announced his retirement on Fox News.

"I did what I came to do," he said.

After receiving a complaint from a government informer last month, the Democrats claimed that Trump used his public office for personal gain, withholding $ 391 million in military aid to Ukraine and putting pressure on his leader in a phone call from July 25 to investigate a political rival and a conspiracy theory concerning the 2016 elections.
They focused in particular on the first question, a survey on the former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter, who was on the board of a Ukrainian energy company, Burisma Holdings, whose owner had been investigated by the # 39; former Ukrainian attorney general. There is no evidence of wrongdoing by Joe or Hunter Biden.
What House investigators learned after two weeks of interviews in Ukraine
They launched an investigation into the impeachment in the House, collecting evidence from text messages between US diplomats and sworn testimony from current and former officials. Other key witnesses should testify privately before the House panels next week.
But so far, few Republicans have joined the Democrats even considering that the president has committed a crime. Many members of the GOP Congress claim that there was no quid pro quo between Trump and Volodymyr Zelensky in that now-famous July call, while others claim that Trump's conduct was inappropriate but not impossible.

Rooney had been a defender of the President following the Russian interference investigation of the 2016 elections. In December 2017, Rooney said he was "quite frustrated" with FBI officials who he believed showed partiality during the poll.

Now "he is still thinking" whether the President's actions against Ukraine have increased to a high crime or crime.

"Right now I'm not considering anything but getting all the facts and learning more," said Rooney. "I'm a business man, okay? I'm used to being open to all points of view and making the best decision I can. But there's still a lot of water flowing under the bridge on this thing."

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Rooney was a relatively obscure member in Congress halls, pushing for initiatives for the benefit of his district, such as more funding for the restoration of Herbert Hoover Dike and Everglades, while discussing US foreign policy through his role on the relevant committee. Like other Republicans in Congress, Rooney recently criticized Trump's decision to withdraw US troops from northern Syria as a "huge mistake".

Republican Republican Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida stated that Rooney is a "total shooter".

"He's not here to waste time," he added.

It is part of the minority of the Chamber and is neither a robber nor a part of the leadership. When asked by a journalist if he had any anecdotes to share about Rooney, the representative Charlie Crist, a Florida Democrat, asked if the article would be for the local newspaper.

Rooney has built a reputation for not being shy about breaking away from the party, particularly with regards to environmental issues. He is one of the few Republicans in the House dedicated to fighting climate change. It supports a tax on carbon emissions and is a critic of the state's sugar industry. And it is one of about a dozen Republicans in the House to vote against Trump's emergency declaration that diverts billions of dollars from military construction projects towards the wall.

An aide to the Republican leadership of the House told CNN, "Rooney has always been a bit of a dishonest member and the idea that the opinions he is expressing here are being heard by a wider range of House Republicans should be rejected ".

Rooney is free from many political pressures due in part to his vast personal wealth, driven by his success as CEO of investment firm Rooney Holdings, the majority owner of the Manhattan Construction Company.

But the transition from business to elected officials was not entirely pleasant.

"This is a frustrating job for me," Rooney said. "I come from a world of actions, decisions, and money, see what happens. This is a world of words. It is very difficult for me to get up and talk."

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi poses during a ceremonial ceremony with Rooney, right, on Capitol Hill in Washington in January.

A former ambassador

The experience of the deputy as former ambassador to the George W. Bush administration gave him an appreciation for the witnesses that preceded him. He said he was anxious to hear the acting ambassador in Ukraine Bill Taylor next week, who he called "a highly respected career diplomat".
Taylor suggested in text messages released at the House investigation that Trump was holding back the military aid package in Ukraine to influence Zelensky. Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, led the effort to put pressure on the Ukraine to investigate Trump's political rivals, not career state officials.

"It is painful for me to see this kind of amateur diplomacy, riding our State Department apparatus," Rooney said. "I have great respect for professional diplomats who protect America around the world."

Asked about the fact that State Department officials came as witnesses, Rooney said "these are not partisans" but "professional diplomats".

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Rooney also challenged Mulvaney's defense from the President's actions. On Thursday, the White House chief of staff said the Trump administration "withheld the money" for Ukraine because the president wanted to investigate "corruption" linked to a conspiracy theory involving the localization of the server computer scientist from the Democratic National Committee hacked by the Russians during the last presidential campaign.

The Democrats argued that even if no favors were exchanged, Trump committed an impassable crime in asking a foreign country to interfere in the US elections. But Mulvaney's comments undermined a key GOP stance that the President's actions were not impractical, stating that there was no quid pro quo and that aid eventually arrived in Ukraine. Hours after Thursday's press conference, Mulvaney released a statement reversing his previous comments.

Rooney said on Friday he was "shocked" by Mulvaney's initial comments.

"The only thing I can assume is that he meant what he had to say – that it was a quid pro quo on this stuff," said Rooney, adding that Mulvaney could not change his position.

"It's not an Etch A Sketch," said Rooney

This story has been updated with further developments on Saturday.

CNN's Manu Raju, Kate Sullivan and Aishvarya Kavi contributed to this report.

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