Several Democrats defect on impeachment, as GOP holds together in support of Trump

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Fitton on impeachment: Trump being abused, Constitution being attacked

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton reacts to House vote on impeachment articles.

While the votes to impeach President Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress fell mostly along party lines, three Democrats bucked their party on Wednesday evening to vote against impeaching the president on at least one of the articles.

Reps. Jeff Van Drew, D-N.J., and Collin Peterson, D-Minn., voted against both articles of impeachment. Rep. Jared Golden, D-Maine, voted in favor of impeaching Trump on abuse power, but not on obstruction of Congress.

Another Democrat, presidential candidate and Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, voted "present" on both impeachment resolutions.

WATCH LIVE: AS HOUSE VOTES ON IMPEACHMENT, TRUMP HOLDS DEFIANT RALLY IN BATTLE CREEK, MICH.

The result helped GOP lawmakers make the case that the only bipartisan vote on the floor Wednesday evening was the vote against impeachment — as all Republicans held together in opposition.

“Not a single Republican broke ranks,” GOP Rep. Greg Steube of Florida told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson minutes after the vote.

Rep. Justin Amash, I-Mich., who left the Republican Party earlier this year, voted “yea” on both articles.

All three Democrats who voted against impeaching Trump come from districts that Trump won in the 2016 election and are expected to face difficult reelection campaigns in the swing districts.

Hume: Impeachment hasn't captured people's imaginationVideo

Van Drew, who met with Trump last week to reportedly discuss plans to switch to the GOP, was also one of only two Democrats — the other being Peterson — to vote "no" on launching the impeachment inquiry into Trump. The two were also the lone dissenters on an earlier vote Wednesday on the rule to kick off the impeachment debate.

“I’ve always felt this impeachment is going to do a tremendous amount of harm to the country,” Van Drew said. “It’s really going to create more division, more hardship, more hate, more civil unrest.”

Peterson has argued that there was not enough evidence to impeach Trump and, that with almost no chance of the Republican-controlled Senate voting to remove Trump from office, the impeachment will only cause further divisions in the country.

The longtime Democratic congressman, however, brushed off speculation that he would move over to the GOP.

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"I'm staying in the party, in spite of some of the stuff that's going on that I don't agree with, I am not going switch parties at this stage of my career," he told KFGO News earlier this week. "There have been overtures by the highest levels of the Republican Party in the last couple weeks to ask if I would consider it and I told them no,"

Democratic leadership in the House also knew ahead of time that Golden would be voting against the article to impeach Trump on obstruction of Congress.

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In a lengthy Facebook post, Golden said on Tuesday that while “the House investigation clearly unearthed a pattern of evidence that demonstrates the corrupt intent on the part of the president” and that “the president’s resistance toward our investigative efforts has been frustrating," he does not think it “reached the threshold of ‘high crime or misdemeanor’ that the Constitution demands.”

Despite the defections from the three lawmakers, Democrats still had more than enough votes to impeach Trump on both charges, with the House voting 230-197 on impeaching him for abuse of power and 229-198 on obstruction of Congress.

Fox News' Marisa Schultz contributed to this report.

Original Article

Could Dems defect in Trump impeachment trial? McConnell sees opening

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Speaking on impeachment, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says House Democrats are conducting

The Democratic senators who hail from states won by President Trump in 2016 are being eyed as possible acquittal votes in a Senate impeachment trial, as Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he believes at least a Democrat or two could defect.

It comes as the House barrels toward a floor vote on impeachment planned for Wednesday. If articles of impeachment are approved as expected, the Senate would follow with a trial in early 2020 where senators act as jurors.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if we got one or two Democrats,” McConnell, R-Ky., said during a recent appearance on Fox News' “Hannity."

HANNITY EXCLUSIVE: MCCONNELL SAYS 'ZERO CHANCE' TRUMP IS REMOVED, 'ONE OR TWO DEMOCRATS' COULD VOTE TO ACQUIT

The most popular parlor game right now in Washington focuses on the House side — specifically, on which Democrats from Trump-won districts would vote to impeach, or defect, even though impeachment is widely seen as inevitable. On the Senate side, where Republicans hold the majority and the threshold for conviction is a steep two-thirds majority, Trump is expected to easily be acquitted. But Republicans nevertheless would like to peel off a Democrat or more in the upper chamber, which could make the vote bipartisan.

A source familiar with Senate impeachment trial plans told Fox News that Republicans believe the Democrats most likely to vote to acquit are Sen. Doug Jones, D-Ala., and Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., both of whom represent red states that went for Trump in 2016.

Manchin is still undecided, according to a source familiar with his thinking. In a recent appearance on CNN, Manchin said, "I'm very much torn on it. I think it weighs on everybody."

Another source said they believe Jones — who is up for re-election next year in the pro-Trump state and is often considered the most vulnerable incumbent — is likely to be the first Democrat defection.

Jones told a local interviewer this week that “I’m concerned that the impeachment inquiry is going to hurt the country," lamenting how it has become such "a partisan issue now."

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va, and Sen. Doug Jones, D-Ala., are believed to be possible votes to acquit the president in an impeachment trial. (AP/Reuters)

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va, and Sen. Doug Jones, D-Ala., are believed to be possible votes to acquit the president in an impeachment trial. (AP/Reuters)

Other Democratic senators believed to be in play are Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz. Trump carried both states in 2016.

Sinema is the first Democrat elected to represent the typically red-leaning state in the Senate since 1995. Sinema has not signaled publicly which way she would vote on impeachment.

Peters recently told local journalists that, "It’s important to collect all of the facts regarding the situation, and certainly what facts are out there are very troublesome."

“Those four Democrats are damned if they do and damned if they don’t,” a senior GOP aide told Fox News, referring to Manchin, Jones, Peters and Sinema. “They will have to resist the Trump derangement syndrome that is consuming their Democrat colleagues.”

Meanwhile, Senate Democrats are making the case that Republicans could join them in a vote to convict Trump. Those most often mentioned as possibilities are Sens. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, who has not shied from criticizing Trump; Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska; Susan Collins, R-Maine; and Cory Gardner, R-Colo., who sometimes crosses party lines in votes.

But Republican sources told Fox News that none of those lawmakers have signaled any movement on the final Senate vote on whether to remove the president from office, and McConnell has said it has been his goal from the beginning to keep Republicans together on the issue.

The source also told Fox News that a recent letter penned by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., laying out his proposed parameters for what a Senate impeachment trial would look like and which witnesses should be included did not move the needle one way or the other for Republicans whose votes could be wavering.

IN TRUMP IMPEACHMENT TRIAL, SENATE GOP COULD TURN TABLES ON DEMS

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“My hope is that there won’t be a single Republican who votes for either of these articles in the House,” McConnell told “Hannity,” while also saying that the impeachment case is “so darn weak” and that the outcome is easy to predict.

“There is no chance the president is going to be removed from office,” McConnell said last week, noting that he has “no choice but to take it up” but the trial would be “in total coordination with the White House counsel’s office and the people who are representing the president.”

At the center of the impeachment inquiry is Trump’s efforts to press Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to launch politically related investigations—regarding former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter’s dealings in Ukraine, as well as issues related to the 2016 presidential election. The president’s request came after millions in U.S. military aid to Ukraine had been frozen, which Democrats have argued shows a “quid pro quo” arrangement. Trump has denied any wrongdoing.

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The House Judiciary Committee on Friday voted to adopt two articles of impeachment against Trump, alleging abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, on a party-line vote of 23-17. A final roll call in the full House is expected Wednesday.

A massive impeachment report issued this past weekend by Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., stated: "This continued solicitation of foreign interference in a U.S. election, as well as President Trump’s other actions, present a clear and present danger that the President will continue to use the power of his office for his personal political gain."

Original Article

Some moderate Democrats expected to defect when full House votes on impeachment: reports

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House leaders reportedly expect to lose as many as a half-dozen votes from moderate Democrats representing swing districts or those that backed President Trump in 2016 when the full House votes on impeachment next week.

Two Democrats — Reps. Collin Peterson of Minnesota and Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey — opposed the impeachment rules package in September but multiple officials told the Washington Post on condition of anonymity that they expect more.

REPUBLICANS ERUPT AS NADLER SUDDENLY POSTPONES IMPEACHMENT VOTE NEAR MIDNIGHT

Despite the anticipated defections, Democrats should have more than enough votes when impeachment comes to a full House vote following this week's Judiciary Committee hearings. Including the independent vote of former Republican Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, Democrats can afford to lose 17 votes from their side of the aisle.

No Republicans are expected to vote for impeachment.

Van Drew has already said he plans to vote against impeachment.

"I don't see anything there worthy of actually taking a president out of office," he said, according to USA Today. "I'm concerned about splitting our nation apart."

"I don't see anything there worthy of actually taking a president out of office. I'm concerned about splitting our nation apart."

— U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew, D-N.J.

U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew, D-N.J.

U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew, D-N.J.

Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich., said she plans to take the weekend to think over her vote.

"I just need to like, get a breath. Take a breath. It’s a serious decision for me," she said, according to Reuters.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday she won’t pressure moderates to vote for impeachment.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., walks to attend a health care event at the Capitol in Washington, Dec. 11, 2019. (Associated Press)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., walks to attend a health care event at the Capitol in Washington, Dec. 11, 2019. (Associated Press)

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"I have no message to them. We are not whipping this legislation, nor would we ever with something like this," Pelosi told reporters, according to The Hill. "They'll make their own decisions. I don't say anything to them."

Democrats' two articles of impeachment against Trump are for abuse of power and obstructing Congress.

After a marathon session Thursday, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., delayed a vote on the articles until Friday morning.

Original Article