Nearly all House Democrats are planning to vote for the articles of impeachment against President Trump on Wednesday.
Republicans, on the other hand, are not expecting any defections, setting up a party line vote carried by Democrats.
A total of 218 Democrats, and one independent (Rep. Justin Amash) support both articles of impeachment. 216 votes are need for the articles to be approved.
As of Tuesday evening, all but four of the 31 Democrats representing districts Trump won in 2016 announced that they will support both articles of impeachment accusing the president of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Most Democrats said they are voting to impeach Trump because they believe it’s the right thing to do, not because of poll numbers.
Only two Democrats — Reps. Collin Peterson (Minn.) and Jeff Van Drew (N.J.)) will oppose the articles. Both lawmakers voted against the resolution formally initiating the impeachment inquiry in October.
“Impeachment is going to fracture the country even more,” Van Drew told reporters Tuesday. “Impeachment is going to make people even angrier and angrier at each other, and we’re going to have an election in 10 or 11 months.”
One Democrat, Rep. Jared Golden (Maine) said he would vote for only one article — abuse of power — but would oppose charging the president with obstruction of Congress.
“Although I find that there is indisputable evidence that the president solicited the interference of a foreign government in the 2020 U.S. presidential election, I believe that the burden of proof for part of the first article, that the president withheld military assistance to Ukraine in order to secure the investigation of Vice President Biden, will be harder to meet in a Senate trial.”
He said he wishes the House leaders hadn’t combined both of those accusations into one article.
Rep. Ron Kind (Wisconsin) has yet to publicly declare how he will vote. He told reporters in the Capitol to “tune in tomorrow.”
Many freshman lawmakers who risk reelection in districts where the president is popular, announced their decision the last two days that they support the articles of impeachment.
Democratic Rep. Elissa Slotkin (Michigan) announced on Monday morning that she will vote for both articles of impeachment. Slotkin, a former CIA officer and Department of Defense official, said the president “illegally solicited the help of foreigners to influence the American political process.”
“There are some decisions in life that have to be made based on what you know in your bones is right. And this is one of those times,” Slotkin wrote in an opinion piece in the Detroit Free Press. She is holding a town hall on Monday to hear from her constituents on her decision.
Slotkin earlier this week faced angry constituents in her district who oppose impeachment. President Trump won Michigan by nearly seven points in 2016. Slotkin said their protests won’t change her mind.
Congresswoman Kendra Horn, a freshman Democrat from Oklahoma, joined the growing number of vulnerable Democrat to support impeachment of Trump.
“It is with a heavy heart, but with clarity of conviction that I have made my decision,” Horn said in a statement Tuesday. “The oath I took to protect and defend the Constitution requires a vote for impeachment. This is not a decision I came to lightly, but I must do my part to ensure our democracy remains strong.”
Horn narrowly defeated Republican Congressman Steve Russell in the race for Oklahoma’s 5th Congressional District in November 2018, garnering 50.7% of the vote. She was the first Democrat to win the seat in 40 years. Trump won the district by 13.7 points in the 2016 presidential election.
Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer, a freshman Democrat from Iowa, announced the decision on Twitter Tuesday afternoon, referring to the oath she took in January as she was sworn into office as guiding her decision.
“This decision is not, and was never about politics, and this shouldn’t be about political parties or elections,” she said. “It’s about facts, dignity in public service, and honoring those who fought and continue to fight to protect our sacred democracy.”
Finkenauer beated Republican Congressman Rod Blum in November, with 51% of the vote. Trump won Iowa’s 1st District by 4 points in 2016.
Freshman Congresswoman Haley Stevens of Michigan joined the cascade of Democrats Tuesday afternoon, coming out in favor of impeaching Trump ahead of the House’s upcoming vote.
“The facts are clear that President Trump abused the powers of his office and deliberately obstructed the congressional investigation into this abuse,” she said in a statement. “I love our country and I am truly heartbroken that the president’s actions have led to this.”
The facts are clear that President Trump abused the powers of his office and deliberately obstructed the investigation into this abuse. Out of solemn duty to the rule of law and our Constitution, I plan to vote in favor of both articles of impeachment. https://t.co/cTNOxObkKY— Rep. Haley Stevens (@RepHaleyStevens) December 17, 2019
Last week, Stevens told Politico she was “keeping an open mind” and speaking with constituents.
“I’m keeping an open mind, reading through the articles and talking to my constituents,” Rep. Haley Stevens of Michigan said. “But one thing is very clear — and this is how I felt when I voted for the inquiry — is that we can’t be divided on the rule of law. This is obviously a painful moment.”
Stevens defeated Republican Lena Epstein in an open seat by 5 points last year. Trump won the 11th district of Michigan by 4 points.
Democratic Rep. Chrissy Houlahan of Pennsylvania, who easily won election in 2018 by nearly 18 percentage points over her Republican challenger, long resisted impeachment until Monday.
“We must impeach this president,” Houlahan said in a video statement. “I grieve for our nation. But I cannot let history mark the behavior of our President as anything other than an unacceptable violation of his oath of office.”
On both Articles of Impeachment – that of the abuse of power and that of the obstruction of Congress – I will vote to impeach this President. After deep reflection, I believe this is the right thing to do for our nation and consistent with my oath of office. Full statement below: pic.twitter.com/eNVFGG1oM4— Chrissy Houlahan (@RepHoulahan) December 17, 2019
Houlahan was the last member of the Pennsylvania delegation to announce her vote in support. Her announcement means that all nine Pennsylvania Democrats in the House now support the articles of impeachment. All nine Pennsylvania Republican House members have said they will vote against the articles.
Rep. Katherine Clark (D-Mass.), the Democratic caucus vice chairwoman, acknowledged that the Democrats are taking a big risk in voting for impeachment that “may or may not affect the 2020 elections.”
“We don’t know how this may or may not affect the 2020 elections,” Clark told reporters in the Capitol on Tuesday. “But we know this: We have this opportunity in the history of our country to stand up, defend our Constitution and send a clear message not only to this president but to every president in the future that we are a coequal branch of government that is going to insist that no one is above the law.”
The Democratic-majority House Rules Committee met Tuesday, with lawmakers to set the length and terms of Wednesday’s House vote debate, which is expected to culminate in votes to make Trump the third president to be impeached in American history.
Trump faces two articles of impeachment. Democrats, who launched their impeachment inquiry in September, have argued that Trump abused his office in pressing Ukrainian leaders to investigate potential 2020 rival Joe Biden and then obstructed Congress when Democrats sought to investigate the affair. They’re framing impeachment as Congress’s last resort in protecting the country’s democracy from a president who would enlist foreign help to sway an election.
The President defended his “absolutely perfect” phone call Tuesday in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, condemning Democrats’ handling of impeachment proceeding as an “illegal, partisan attempted coup.”
Trump says he doesn’t believe his letter will change anything, but that he is registering his objections “for the purpose of history.”
Pelosi sent a letter to Democrats late Tuesday evening, urging them to vote to impeach President Trump.
“When the House convenes to take the impeachment vote tomorrow morning, I urge each of you to join me on the Floor,” Pelosi wrote in the ‘Dear Colleague’ letter. “No Member came to Congress to impeach a President. But every one of us, as our first act as a Member of Congress, stood on the House Floor, raised our hand and took a sacred oath. That oath makes us Custodians of the Constitution. If we do not act, we will be derelict in our duty.”
“Very sadly, the facts have made clear that the President abused his power for his own personal, political benefit and that he obstructed Congress as he demanded that he is above accountability, above the Constitution and above the American people. In America, no one is above the law,” Pelosi continued.
As impeachment appears set in the House, attention is now shifting to the Senate which is required under the constitution to hold a trial. It is expected to begin on January 6th.