LEWISBURG — Congressman Fred Keller (R-Pa. 12) believes there’s a lack of transparency in the current impeachment inquiry being carried out surrounding President Donald Trump’s contact with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and allegations Trump had aid to the nation withheld while asking the Ukrainians to investigate Hunter Biden’s business dealings in the country.
Keller was the guest speaker during Monday’s Susquehanna Valley Conservatives meeting. He commented briefly on the impeachment inquiry during his remarks.
Keller said Democrats who are leading the inquiry have been conducting closed-door hearings and limiting the number of Republican staff members who can attend. He also alleged that text messages and emails being released by Democrats are being done so out of context.
“It can’t continue to run this way, where it’s not transparent,” Keller said. “If there are articles of impeachment drawn up and voted on, there would be transparent hearings.”
He also noted that Trump has asked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to call for an impeachment vote.
“That is, certainly I think, reasonable,” Keller said.
Keller said he will always “stick up for the constitution” of the United States.
“I want to make sure every citizen is extended due process under the law,” Keller said. “If one person is denied justice, we are all denied justice. It doesn’t matter if it’s the president or anyone else.”
Later in the meeting, Keller was asked by a member of the public in attendance if he trusts the FBI and CIA.
“You can trust the organization, but there may be some people within it that are not trustworthy,” he responded.
Keller also shared a lighter moment from the May 20 rally, held prior to his election, at the Williamsport Regional Airport and attended by Trump.
Prior to Trump stepping off Air Force One upon its arrival in Williamsport, Keller boarded the plane to meet with the president. Since then, Keller has been asked several times what was going through his mind as he was following Trump down the plane’s steps.
Keller recalled that President Gerald Ford once stumbled while walking down the Air Force One steps.
“I was thinking ‘please do not have a Jerry Ford moment and knock the president on the ground,’” Keller laughed. “‘You will end up in a Tweet.’”
Based on his interactions with Trump, Keller said the president “really does care” about people.
“He might be unconventional in the way he does things,” Keller said, of Trump.
Keller then recounted a phone conversation he had with Trump when the president informed him that he would be attending the May 20 rally.
“The last thing he said to me is ‘please tell your family I hope they’re doing well,’” Keller said. “That’s the kind of things he does.”
Keller touched on a range of topics during the presentation. He was asked whether he supports legislation surrounding background checks to be conducted on individuals — including those who have had protection from abuse orders filed against them — purchasing guns.
“They can put a lot of things in those bills that might do more harm than good,” Keller said.
“Whatever I can do to make sure everyone is provided due process, I will stand up for that,” he continued. “I must make sure everyone has been provided due process before I strike down their Second Amendment rights.”
Keller also touched on working documents which he said indicate natural gas is targeted to be eliminated under the proposed Green New Deal.
According to Keller, natural gas use in Pennsylvania has resulted in the average residents’ energy bills being reduced by $1,100 per year.
“When you get a broad bill like (the Green New Deal), you need to look into it,” Keller said. “It would be devastating to Pennsylvania’s economy and would impact everyone relying on that natural gas.”
He also spoke on the proposed U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement (USMCA), which would replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and its potential impacts on the agricultural industry.
“It’s important we get (the USMCA) done and get it over to the senate so it can be ratified,” Keller said.
One of the benefits of the agreement, Keller said, is that milk produced in the U.S. would be more accessible in Canada.
According to Keller, the dairy is the largest industry in his congressional district.
He spoke on two other proposed bills which he said would benefit dairy farmers. One, the Dairy Pride Act, is intended to make sure products that don’t contain milk are not labeled as having milk.
The other, the Healthy Milk For Healthy Kids Act, would put 2% milk in schools, according to Keller.
Currently, he said schools only offer 1% milk to students.
“Much of it is ending up in the trash,” Keller said. “If we have milk that tastes better for kids, they would be more likely to drink it.”
He also noted that whole milk is 97% fat free.
“The farmers are certainly trying to make sure everyone understands that,” Keller said.