A Capitol Hill reporter asked House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) on Thursday if "we might be better off" with Vice President Mike Pence instead of President Donald Trump, given the recent developments having to do with the FBI's Russia investigation — but Ryan made clear he was not willing to entertain that scenario.
Fox News reporter Chad Pergram posed the question to Ryan during a Capitol Hill news conference.
"Considering the maelstrom that we've dealt with with Trump and Russia the past few days," Pergram began, "there have been some members who have said we might be better with Vice President Pence."
Ryan, though, quickly interjected, "Oh good grief."
"We shouldn't even," Ryan continued, "I'm not even going to give credence to that. I'm not even going to comment on that. That's...that's..."
Pergram reminded the speaker that "there are members who are saying it." Still, Ryan wasn't having it.
"There's not even a point in making a comment on that," Ryan said, before moving on to another reporter's question.
A number of Democrats have begin to openly discuss the possibility of impeachment proceedings against the sitting president, especially after the Washington Post reported earlier this week that Trump asked now-former FBI Director James Comey to "let go" of the agency's investigation into ousted White House national security adviser Gen. Michael Flynn, who resigned in February after misleading Pence about meeting with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
The Times based its reporting on the supposed existence memos Comey allegedly wrote before Trump fired the FBI director last week.
Rep. Al Green (D-Texas) took to the House floor Wednesday to advocate for members of the legislative body to file impeachment articles. Green and others in his party have argued that Trump obstructed justice when he urged Comey to end the Flynn probe.
"I rise today, Mr. Speaker, to call for the impeachment of the president of the United States of America for obstruction of justice," Green said Wednesday, adding that he wasn't calling for Trump's impeachment for "political purposes."
"I do this because I believe in the great ideals this country stands for," Green said.
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) has actively campaigned to impeach Trump for more than a month.
“I don’t respect this president. I don’t trust this president. He’s not working in the best interests of the American people. His motives and his actions are contemptible," the Democratic congresswoman said during the Tax March rally in Washington, D.C., last month.
“I will fight every day until he is impeached," Waters said at the time. "Impeach 45! Impeach 45! Impeach 45!”
It's not just Democrats, though, who have gone as far as to suggest impeachment is a possibility.
Rep. Justin Amash (Mich.) became the first Republican congressman Wednesday to say that, if accusations in Comey's alleged memos prove to be true, then impeachment proceedings would, in fact, be warranted.
Trump-appointed Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein named former FBI Director Robert Mueller on Wednesday to serve as independent special counsel for the investigation into Russia's meddling in the 2016 election and the Trump campaign's alleged collusion with the Kremlin.
Given the extremely complex nature of an independent investigation, it could take months or even years for investigators to determine if the Comey memos do, in fact, exist and whether they provide an accurate account of Comey's conversations with Trump.
Ryan encouraged his fellow lawmakers Wednesday to wait for "the facts" in the case and reminded them that “there are a lot of unanswered questions" still when it comes to Trump's campaign and Russia.
For its part, the White House released a statement Wednesday, just after it was reported that Rosenstein appointed Mueller as special counsel.
According to Fox News, the White House statement said:
[T]he President has never asked Mr. Comey or anyone else to end any investigation, including any investigation involving General Flynn. The president has the utmost respect for our law enforcement agencies, and all investigations. This is not a truthful or accurate portrayal of the conversation between the president and Mr. Comey.