Utah Rep. Ben McAdams says he is like a juror in the impeachment inquiry — so he won’t say much and will be impartial

Rep. Ben McAdams, D-Utah, says that with the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump underway, he now sees himself as a juror who must remain impartial — so he won’t react to every new development.

“I will not prejudge the outcome. I see my role like a juror in a court proceeding, and it is important for me to remain impartial until the process is concluded,” he said. “While this process is underway, I don’t intend to react to every news headline or the story of the moment.”

In the impeachment process, the U.S. House decides whether to charge a president with articles of impeachment. The Senate would then hold a trial and act as the jury.

McAdams made those comments in a written statement shortly after dodging reporters’ questions in person about whether he supports the inquiry and why. His written statement remained murky on that.

That places McAdams among six U.S. House Democrats who are not supporting the probe, or are undecided, according to The Associated Press. The New York Times, in a separate survey, says 10 House Democrats either do not yet support the probe yet, or oppose it.

McAdams declined to answer reporters’ questions about impeachment after an event where he spoke to help announce expansion of GREENbike rentals in Salt Lake City.

“I’m not going to step on their event,” he said repeatedly as reporters asked him about impeachment. Politicians usually routinely field questions after events where they appear.

Instead, McAdams pointed reporters to his press secretary, Alyson Heyrend, saying “she’ll get you a time for me to elaborate.”

Heyrend initially said McAdams will address the issue at a health and wellness forum Friday at 11:30 a.m. at the Midvale Senior Center, 7550 S. Main.

When asked if the congressman would take questions at that event to help clarify his position on the inquiry, Heyrend said, “What clarification do you need? It’s underway.” When reporters said they want to know if he supports the probe and why, she said, “It doesn’t matter. It’s underway.”

Heyrend later sent an email with the written statement from McAdams, which also did not clearly say whether he supports the probe. It outlined how he will act now that it has started.

“There are questions about whether President Trump abused his power and harmed our national security for his personal gain. These are serious allegations that deserve a deliberative process,” the statement said.

“I want all the facts and I will carefully review all the evidence,” he added. “I have consistently supported understanding all the facts and Congress receiving the documents it needs to fulfill its constitutional role. However, I will not prejudge the outcome.”

Last week, when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California announced that House Democrats were launching the impeachment inquiry, McAdams released a statement saying, “Before making any judgments, I want to know the facts of what occurred between the president and Ukraine.”

When a summary of a phone call between Trump and Ukraine’s president was released — in which Trump asked for help to look into rival Joe Biden — McAdams issued a statement saying that “suggests the president was improperly using his influence with a foreign power to damage a political opponent.”

But, McAdams added, “On this and other matters we need to get all the facts on the table before deciding how to proceed.”

One reason for McAdams to tread lightly on that matter is that last year he defeated then-incumbent GOP Rep. Mia Love by a razor-thin margin of 694 votes, or a margin of 50.129% to 49.871%. He is the highest-profile Democrat elected in heavily Republican Utah.