ST. PAUL — A Minnesota Democrat was among a trio to break with party ranks to vote against the impeachment of President Donald Trump on Wednesday, Dec. 18.
Minnesota's Rep. Collin Peterson voted with Republicans to oppose two articles of impeachment, citing concerns about the proceedings dividing the country. Peterson's district supported the president over Hillary Clinton in 2016 by a 30 percentage point margin.
The House of Representatives on Wednesday, Dec. 18, approved two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. The house voted 230-197 to advance a charge of abuse of power against the president and 229-198 to advance a charge of obstruction of Congress. Both articles of impeachment stem from Trump's dealings with Ukraine.
Representatives from Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin voted along largely party lines with Democrats supporting impeachment and Republicans opposing it. But Peterson, who represents Minnesota's vast 7th Congressional District, stood against the impeachment.
"The inquiry and hearing have been partisan and have failed in convincing the country while further placating some people who have wanted the president impeached since he was elected," Peterson said in a news release. "This process has been a mistake and I will not be whipped in line by my party. I may stand alone but I stand in good conscience. History will show this to be a mistake and the Senate will make short work of an acquittal."
The articles of impeachment move now to the Senate, where members are set to hold a trial and weigh the evidence compiled by the Democrat-controlled House. If two-thirds of senators support the impeachment, the president would be removed from office.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has criticized the impeachment proceedings and said he is working closely with the White House.
Trump on Twitter called the impeachment efforts "an assault on America and on the Republican Party." The Republican is the third president to be impeached in American history.
SUCH ATROCIOUS LIES BY THE RADICAL LEFT, DO NOTHING DEMOCRATS. THIS IS AN ASSAULT ON AMERICA, AND AN ASSAULT ON THE REPUBLICAN PARTY!!!!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 18, 2019
Republicans arguing against impeachment said the President hadn't broken the law and that his interaction with Ukrainian officials did not constitute and an impeachable offense. And they argued that voters should be able to decide in 2020 whether they felt Trump's actions merit his removal from office.
“This isn’t a solemn, sober process — this is a political drive-by. The truth doesn’t matter. Facts don’t matter. They just want President Trump gone," U.S. Rep. Kelly Armstrong, R-N.D., said. “The Democrats' never-ending quest to impeach this president is a constant reminder to 63 million Americans that you don’t trust their judgment, that you don’t understand their way of life, and that you couldn’t care less about the issues that matter the most to them.”
Democrats, with the exception of Peterson and Rep. Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey, supported the article alleging the president abused the power of his office. And many argued that the vote was key to ensuring that all Americans are held to the same standards under the law.
Peterson, Van Drew and Rep. Jared Golden, D-Maine, voted against the charge of obstruction of Congress, breaking with their party. Van Drew has said he plans to switch party affiliation to become a Republican. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, voted present on both votes.
Michelle Fischbach, a Republican aiming to unseat Peterson, in a news release said the Democrat should've done more to stand up against the "impeachment sham."
In the weeks and days ahead of the vote, Democrats in toss-up districts and districts that supported Trump in 2016 waited to say how they'd weigh in. And one, Rep. Ron Kind, D-Wis., didn't publicly say how he'd come down until he voted on the House floor. But he ultimately opted to support both articles of impeachment.
“My vote today was not about the President himself — more importantly, it was about defending the rule of law, our Constitution, and what signal we send future presidents of what is acceptable behavior," Kind said in a news release. "Asking another country to meddle in our election and withholding vital security assistance from an ally is what our founders feared and why they placed impeachment in our Constitution. If any president — Democrat or Republican — had committed these offenses, I would have reached the same conclusion."
Democratic Reps. Angie Craig and Dean Phillips, who flipped formerly red districts blue in 2018, also waited until days before the vote to share that they would support the impeachment.
"No elected leader is above the law," Craig wrote in a letter to constituents. "My values would require the same vote if this were a Democratic President. It is about protecting our democratic values, about right and wrong, and about upholding my oath to the Constitution and the rule of law."
Republicans and conservative groups have targeted the pair in ad campaigns, saying they've split with their constituents in supporting the president's impeachment. And those comments continued Wednesday evening.
"Unfortunately, Reps. Angie Craig and Dean Phillips followed in the footsteps of Ilhan Omar, Nancy Pelosi and their fellow radical colleagues on this vote," Minnesota GOP Chair Jennifer Carnahan said. "Craig and Phillips' decision to ignore their constituents and vote to impeach the President has sealed their fate as one-term members of Congress. November 2020 is not far away and voters will remember."
How did your representative vote?
Rep. Jim Hagedorn, R-MN01: No
Rep. Angie Craig, D-MN02: Yes
Rep. Dean Phillips, D-MN03: Yes
Rep. Betty McCollum, D-MN04: Yes
Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-MN05: Yes
Rep. Tom Emmer, R-MN06: No
Rep. Collin Peterson, D-MN07: No
Rep. Pete Stauber, R-MN08: No
Rep. Kelly Armstrong, R-N.D.: No
Rep. Dusty Johnson, R-S.D.: No
Wisconsin (the 7th District seat is currently vacant)
Rep. Bryan Steil, R-WI01: No
Rep. Mark Pocan, D-WI02: Yes
Rep. Ron Kind, D-WI03: Yes
Rep. Gwen Moore, D-WI04: Yes
Rep. James Sensenbrenner, Jr., R-WI05: No
Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-WI06: No
Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-WI08: No