Two Democratic congressmen joined Republicans to vote against the House resolution formalizing the rules and procedure for the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump on Thursday.
Congressmen Jeff Van Drew and Collin Peterson’s “nay” votes were expected as they did not make public statements in support of starting an impeachment process.
“Today, I voted Nay on H.Res. 660. Without bipartisan support I believe this inquiry will further divide the country tearing it apart at the seams and will ultimately fail in the Senate,” Van Drew said in a statement following the vote.
“However, now that the vote has taken place and we are moving forward I will be making a judgement call based on all the evidence presented by these investigations,” he said.
For his part, Peterson said in a statement that the impeachment process continues to be “hopelessly partisan”.
“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.
Saying that he has “some serious concerns with the way the closed-door depositions were run”, Peterson added: “Without support from Senate Republicans, going down this path is a mistake.”
He called Thursday’s vote is “unnecessary” and “widely misrepresented” in the media and by Republicans as a vote on impeachment.
“I will not make a decision on impeachment until all the facts have been presented,” Peterson said.
No Republicans supported the resolution that was voted 232-196.
The resolution contains the set of rules that will govern future proceedings as the chamber continues its inquiry. In a pushback against Republican charges of a lack of transparency, the measure moves future hearings into the nationally-televised spotlight and authorizes the release of hearing transcripts to the public.
Central to the ongoing impeachment probe is whether Trump abused the power of his office in soliciting the assistance of a foreign leader in investigating a prominent political rival heading into the 2020 election.
During a July 25 telephone call, Trump repeatedly petitioned Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to open a corruption probe into former Vice President Joe Biden, and his son Hunter, on uncorroborated claims.
The elder Biden is a leading Democratic nominee heading into next year’s White House race.
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