House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy says Democrats are abusing their power and discrediting democracy by “trying to impeach the president because they are scared they can’t defeat him at the ballot box.” (Oct. 31)
WASHINGTON – The two Democrats who broke from their party Thursday to vote against an impeachment inquiry are political conservatives representing congressional districts President Donald Trump won in 2016.
Rep. Collin Peterson of Minnesota and Rep. Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey joined every Republican in opposing a resolution that lays out a road map for an inquiry that will decide whether articles of impeachment should be filed against Trump over his efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate 2020 political rival Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.
The resolution passed 232-196 along almost entirely partisan lines.
It sets rules for how the various House committees involved in the process will funnel their evidence to the Judiciary Committee, which traditionally considers whether to recommend articles of impeachment.
The Intelligence and Judiciary committees will hold public hearings, with the release of transcripts of the confidential witness testimony that the trio of committees collected in depositions.
Van Drew, a freshman whose southern New Jersey district encompasses Cape May, Atlantic City and part of the Philadelphia suburbs, said he and Peterson had talked before the vote.
“Colin would always kid. He said, ‘It’s just going to be you and me’ and I said, ‘no, it might be more people’. But it was just him and me,” the former dentist said with a laugh. “He’s been around a long time. He knows what’s going on.”
Peterson, a 15-term Democrat who represents a sprawling, rural Minnesota district that stretches from Iowa to Canada, had been saying for weeks that he was worried impeachment would become a partisan “tool” to override the results of an election.
“I have been hearing from my constituents on both sides of this matter for months, and the escalation of calls this past week just shows me how divided our country really is right now,” he said in a statement released to the media after the vote.
Peterson, 75, who chairs the House Committee on Agriculture, said he had “some serious concerns” about the way the closed-door depositions have been handled and that he was “skeptical that we will have a process that is open, transparent and fair.”
One Republican, Rep. Francis Rooney of Florida, who was seen as a possible ‘yes’ vote on the inquiry because of concerns he expressed about Trump’s conduct ended up voting against the resolution.
“While today’s resolution opens the way the hearings will be conducted in many ways, which is an improvement, the process is still less open to having all sides represented than prior impeachments,” Rooney said in a statement. “A truly judicial process like deployed in the Nixon and Clinton cases would be the best solution to assure due process. As to the merits of the impeachment case itself, I have consistently kept an open mind and listened to the facts as presented – and will continue to do so.”
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Both Peterson and Van Drew got slammed by the progressives after their votes Thursday.
“Vote them out in 2020,” tweeted Elizabeth Cronise McLaughlin, CEO of the Gaia Project for Women’s Leadership.
“They are Democrats in name only. And like all DINOs, they need to go extinct from the House of Representatives,” tweeted Eugene Gu, a California doctor with a large social media following.
Van Drew got criticized from the right as well.
The day before the New Jersey congressman voted against the inquiry, the National Congressional Republican Committee said the vote he cast Thursday “won’t save his reelection hopes.”
“Van Drew will be forced to vote on Democrats’ impeach inquiry tomorrow and will be alienating either the battleground voters who oppose impeachment or his socialist base hellbent on removing President Trump for office,” the NRCC said in a release. “It’s a lose-lose for JVD.”
Contributing: Christal Hayes, Bart Jansen
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