The House on Wednesday voted 332-95 to kill the first articles of impeachment brought forward under the new Democratic majority, showing off a deep divide among Democrats on whether to go forward with an effort to unseat President TrumpDonald John TrumpPompeo changes staff for Russia meeting after concerns raised about top negotiator’s ties: report House unravels with rise of ‘Les Enfants Terrible’ Ben Carson: Trump is not a racist and his comments were not racist MORE.
A majority of Democrats, along with the chamber’s Republicans, voted to table the measure sponsored by Rep. Al GreenAlexander (Al) N. GreenHouse unravels with rise of ‘Les Enfants Terrible’ House expected to vote Wednesday on Green’s impeachment effort Al Green: ‘We have the opportunity to punish’ Trump with impeachment vote MORE (D-Texas), while 95 Democrats voted in favor of it.
It’s the first time the Democratic House has been confronted with a vote on impeachment and comes a week before former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerTop Republican considered Mueller subpoena to box in Democrats Kamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have ‘no choice’ but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Dem committees win new powers to investigate Trump MORE is set to testify before two committees on Capitol Hill.
Green, whose previous impeachment votes have accused Trump of inflaming racial tensions, offered the measure immediately after the House on Tuesday voted to condemn Trump over tweets targeting four minority Democratic congresswomen.
Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiHouse unravels with rise of ‘Les Enfants Terrible’ Will Trump’s racist tweets backfire? Al Green: ‘We have the opportunity to punish’ Trump with impeachment vote MORE (D-Calif.) has sought to quash talk of impeachment, and her side won the vote Wednesday. But the vote also made clear a large number of Democrats want to take action against Trump even before hearing from Mueller.
Members of Democratic leadership voted with Republicans to table the resolution, including House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerThe Hill’s Morning Report – A raucous debate on race ends with Trump admonishment White House, Congress inch toward debt, budget deal House to test Trump’s veto pen on Saudi arms sales MORE (Md.), Majority Whip James Clyburn (S.C.) and House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem JeffriesHakeem Sekou JeffriesJeffries defends Democratic Caucus tweet slamming Ocasio-Cortez chief of staff House Democrat pushes for censuring Trump in closed-door meeting Ocasio-Cortez top aide emerges as lightning rod amid Democratic feud MORE (N.Y.).
Clyburn and Jeffries had previously voted for similar articles of impeachment from Green in the last Congress.
A number of Democrats — including some who backed Green — questioned their colleague’s strategy in forcing a vote one week before Mueller’s testimony on his report on Russia’s election interference and Trump’s efforts to obstruct the investigation.
“We’ve got to investigate and change public opinion,” said Rep. Brad ShermanBradley (Brad) James ShermanHouse Democrat: Facebook cryptocurrency could be more dangerous than Osama bin Laden Pro-impeachment Democrats wary of Al Green’s floor vote push Facebook’s crypto experiment will languish on Capitol Hill MORE (D-Calif.), who voted against tabling Green’s measure and reintroduced an article of impeachment against Trump on the first day of the new Congress.
“This could be a small positive step, it could be a nullity,” he said.
Some Democrats who support impeachment said they didn’t think Green’s resolution was the best path forward given that it doesn’t include findings from the Mueller report.
“We must bring forward our best evidence on obstruction, emoluments violations, and other potential crimes — not simply focus on the president’s latest horrible remarks, harmful though they are. I worry that the House of Representatives would forfeit its vital role in this process if today’s resolution passed,” Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) said in a statement.
House Budget Committee Chairman John YarmuthJohn Allen YarmuthThe Hill’s Morning Report – A raucous debate on race ends with Trump admonishment Pro-impeachment Democrats wary of Al Green’s floor vote push Ex-DCCC official: McGrath comments on Kavanaugh vote not ‘a death sentence’ MORE (D-Ky.) voted to table the resolution even though he supports impeachment. Rep. Justin AmashJustin AmashHouse expected to vote Wednesday on Green’s impeachment effort Trump signals he’ll talk about minority congresswomen at Wednesday rally Green files articles of impeachment against Trump, setting up floor vote MORE (I-Mich.), who backs impeachment and left the Republican Party this summer essentially over Trump, also voted to table it.
The Democrats who voted against tabling Green’s measure included House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerTrump knocks Mueller after deal struck for him to testify House Democrats request briefing on Epstein, Acosta Nadler apologized after repeatedly calling Hope Hicks ‘Ms. Lewandowski’ at hearing MORE (N.Y.) and the liberal congresswomen attacked by Trump this week, Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezPhiladelphia mayor: Trump would ‘go to hell’ if he had to go back to where he came from Republicans scramble to contain Trump fallout The four Republicans who voted to condemn Trump’s tweets MORE (N.Y.), Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarBen Carson: Trump is not a racist and his comments were not racist Trump thanks ‘vicious young Socialist Congresswomen’ for his poll numbers House expected to vote Wednesday on Green’s impeachment effort MORE (Minn.), Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibBen Carson: Trump is not a racist and his comments were not racist Trump thanks ‘vicious young Socialist Congresswomen’ for his poll numbers House expected to vote Wednesday on Green’s impeachment effort MORE (Mich.) and Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyBen Carson: Trump is not a racist and his comments were not racist Trump thanks ‘vicious young Socialist Congresswomen’ for his poll numbers CNN’s Cuomo spars with Kris Kobach over whether Trump’s tweet was racist MORE (Mass.).
Reps. Mark PocanMark William PocanOn the USMCA, Pelosi can’t take yes for an answer Overnight Defense: House approves 3 billion defense bill | Liberal sweeteners draw progressive votes | Bill includes measure blocking Trump from military action on Iran House approves defense bill after adding liberal sweeteners MORE (Wis.) and Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalActivist: Exclusion of domestic workers from federal labor laws ‘a legacy of slavery’ How Trump suddenly brought Democrats together on a resolution condemning him House votes against striking Pelosi remarks from record MORE (Wash.), the co-chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, also voted against tabling Green’s articles, as did Rep. David CicillineDavid Nicola CicillineHillicon Valley: Senators unload on Facebook cryptocurrency plan | Trump vows to ‘take a look’ at Google’s ties to China | Google denies working with China’s military | Tech execs on defensive at antitrust hearing | Bill would bar business with Huawei Tech giants on defensive at antitrust hearing Critics slam billion Facebook fine as weak MORE (R.I.), who heads the Democrats’ messaging arm.
Other committee chairs also voted with Green: Financial Services Chairwoman Maxine WatersMaxine Moore WatersSenators unload on Facebook cryptocurrency at hearing Democrat Sherrod Brown torches Facebook at hearing: They ‘broke journalism,’ ‘helped incite a genocide’ House Democrats mull bill to ban Facebook cryptocurrency project MORE (Calif.), Natural Resources Chairman Raúl Grijalva (Ariz.), Homeland Security Chairman Bennie ThompsonBennie Gordon ThompsonCapitol Police chief says threats against lawmakers increasing Pro-impeachment Democrats wary of Al Green’s floor vote push Hillicon Valley: FTC reportedly settles with Facebook for B fine | Trump calls to regulate Facebook’s crypto project | Court rules Pentagon can award B ‘war cloud’ contract | Study shows automation will hit rural areas hardest MORE (Miss.), Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone Jr.Frank Joseph PalloneNRC eyes reducing inspections of nuclear reactors Democratic chair: Medicare negotiating drug prices not moving before August Hillicon Valley: Twitter says Trump ‘go back’ tweet didn’t violate rules | Unions back protests targeting Amazon ‘Prime Day’ | Mnuchin voices ‘serious concerns’ about Facebook crypto project | Congress mobilizes on cyber threats to electric grid MORE (N.J.), Appropriations Chairwoman Nita LoweyNita Sue LoweyHillicon Valley: Trump officials to investigate French tax on tech giants | Fed chair raises concerns about Facebook’s crypto project | FCC blocks part of San Francisco law on broadband competition | House members warn of disinformation ‘battle’ Lawmakers, experts see combating Russian disinformation as a ‘battle’ Top Democrats call for administration to rescind child migrant information sharing policy MORE (N.Y.), Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern (Mass.) and Small Business Committee Chairwoman Nydia Velázquez (N.Y.).
Pelosi reiterated Wednesday that she believes impeachment is premature but took care to praise Green personally as a “very prayerful person” who “cares very much about our Constitution and our country.”
“We have six committees that are working on following the facts in terms of any abuse of power, obstruction of justice and the rest that the president may have engaged in. That is the serious path that we are on. Not that Mr. Green is not serious, but we’ll deal with that on the floor,” Pelosi said at a press conference in the Capitol.
Trump touted the failure of Green’s effort, tweeting that impeachment is “perhaps the most ridiculous and time consuming project I have ever had to work on.”
“This should never be allowed to happen to another President of the United States again!” he wrote.
In making the case for his resolution, Green argued that the House should go further than it did in condemning the president’s remarks and move to impeach Trump for a pattern of inflaming racial tensions in America.
He forced a vote on his articles of impeachment by filing them as a “privileged” resolution, triggering a process that requires House floor action within two legislative days.
“Today’s vote is to determine whether or not we will punish the president. The effort yesterday was wonderful. I supported it. But it does not punish the president,” Green said in a House floor speech.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyWhite House, Congress inch toward debt, budget deal House votes to condemn Trump for ‘racist comments’ On The Money: Senators unload on Facebook cryptocurrency | Tech giants on defensive at antitrust hearing | Democrats ask Labor Department to investigate Amazon warehouses MORE (R-Calif.) moved to table Green’s resolution, rather than Democratic leaders formally offering the motion themselves to cast the effort aside or opting to refer it to the Judiciary Committee.
After the vote, Green didn’t rule out forcing the issue again on the floor.
“My hope is that we won’t have to do this again,” Green said. “But if necessary then we will.”
The 95 votes in support of his resolution, Green said, “says to me that people appreciate that the president is unfit and should be removed from office.”
Had the motion to table failed, it would have potentially led to a direct up-or-down vote on Green’s resolution, though it is also possible a motion could have been made to refer the resolution to a committee.
Green maintained that the focus of his impeachment articles is separate from the Mueller report’s findings.
“Obstruction has nothing to do with what we will vote on today. This is about what the president has done. You cannot incite people to harm other people with your words,” Green said.
Green’s articles of impeachment do not mention anything related to the Mueller report. Instead, the text cites the House vote to condemn Trump’s tweets about the four congresswomen and states that he has “brought the high office of the president of the United States in contempt, ridicule, disgrace and disrepute” and “has sown discord among the people of the United States.”
Green previously forced votes on impeachment in December 2017 and January 2018, which House GOP leaders moved to table. Each of those impeachment votes drew the support of about 60 Democrats.
Both of Green’s previous efforts similarly focused on accusing Trump of inflaming racial tensions, like after the president referred to African nations as “shithole countries.”
Scott Wong contributed.
Updated at 7:57 p.m.