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How Republicans Are Reacting To Developments In The Impeachment Inquiry

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

I want to bring in NPR political reporter Tim Mak, who is on Capitol Hill and has been with us this hour, if you heard that.

Tim, what did you hear there from Senator Cassidy in terms of the message that Republicans are crafting as this inquiry moves forward?

TIM MAK, BYLINE: A few things. On process, a lot of Republicans are saying that, hey, Democrats are filled with this hatred of the president, that this process is preordained. It doesn't matter what the substance of the president's behavior is; they want to remove him regardless. And on the substance of the allegations against the president, Republicans have been arguing, hey, the president may have done something wrong, but he didn't do anything particular that - in particular that was criminal.

Now, Democrats have argued that, hey, we have kept an open mind this entire process. And if you talk to a lot of leaders in the Democratic Party and the House, they will say, look - we have not wanted an impeachment process. Over the last two years - or approximately two years - a lot of Democrats have not wanted to go down this road. It's just that, they say, the president's behavior warrants that kind of inquiry.

KELLY: As you have been reporting, over on the House side, there was total unity behind the president today. No Republicans voted for this authorization - this resolution to authorize - to formally authorize the impeachment inquiry. Do you see anything different unfolding on the Senate side?

MAK: There's been a little bit of criticism and skepticism of the president from some Republicans in the Senate. I'd point to senators like Mitt Romney, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski - they refused to sign on to a resolution by Senator Lindsey Graham criticizing the House impeachment process. So those are the kinds of people to watch as this process unfolds.

KELLY: All right. Thank you for watching them for us. NPR's Tim Mak at the Capitol. Thank you, Tim.

MAK: Thanks a lot.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOME'S "CLUB SANDWICH") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.