Vote Alert: Advancing absurd articles of impeachment against President Donald J. Trump

· December 18, 2019  
    Font Size A A A
CR Liberty Score Update

This House resolution allowed the House to consider and vote on articles of impeachment against President Donald J. Trump. This procedural vote set the terms of debate on the articles of impeachment, divided the impeachment resolution between its two articles, required a vote on each article after debate, and cleared the way for the House to appoint impeachment managers to transfer the articles of impeachment to the U.S. Senate after they were passed by the House. Blocking this resolution would have prevented the House from impeaching the president.

Impeachment of a sitting U.S. president is serious. The charges brought against President Trump in the articles of impeachment allege that the president abused his power by soliciting the interference of a foreign government, Ukraine, in the 2020 election and that the president obstructed Congress by defying subpoenas issued by the House impeachment inquiry. These charges do not withstand scrutiny and are far from evidence that President Trump should be removed from office.

Article I of the impeachment resolution accuses the president of corruptly “soliciting the Government of Ukraine to publicly announce investigations that would benefit his reelection, harm the election prospects of a political opponent, and influence the 2020 United States Presidential election to his advantage.” President Trump is accused of pressuring Ukraine into investigating his 2020 rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, by withholding $391 million in foreign aid appropriated by Congress. Additionally the president is accused of asking Ukraine to investigate a “discredited theory promoted by Russia alleging that Ukraine—rather than Russia—interfered in the 2016 United States Presidential election.” Article I concludes by alleging, “President Trump abused the powers of the Presidency by ignoring and injuring national security and other vital national interests to obtain an improper personal political benefit.”

These allegations fail on several counts. 1) President Trump and Ukraine President Zelensky both deny that any pressure was applied on Ukraine to investigate Biden or 2016 election interference, and a record of their phone call shows no evidence of Trump making demands of Ukraine. 2) It is within a president’s powers to add conditions to foreign aid, and past presidents have done so. Regardless, Ukraine was not aware that any aid was delayed or aware of any conditions for its release. 3) The aid was released after 84 days without any of Trump’s alleged demands fulfilled. 4) There are legitimate questions surrounding the Biden family’s relationships with Ukraine and possible corruption on an even larger scale, and it is in the national interest, not President Trump’s personal political interest, to uproot corruption involving public figures and especially potential presidential candidates. It ought to be clear that President Trump did not abuse his power with regard to Ukraine for his own personal interest.

Article II of the impeachment resolution accuses President Trump of obstructing Congress by directing “the unprecedented, categorical, and indiscriminate defiance of subpoenas issued by the House of Representatives pursuant to its ‘sole Power of Impeachment’.” The House makes a separation of powers claim against the president, alleging that he unconstitutionally “assumed to himself functions and judgments necessary to the exercise of the ‘sole Power of Impeachment’ vested by the Constitution in the House of Representatives.” The president allegedly abused his powers by directing the White House and executive branch agencies and offices to defy lawful subpoenas by withholding documents and records and directing executive branch officials to defy subpoenas to appear to testify.

The charge of “obstructing Congress” in Article II is absurd on its face. Our constitutional republic is established on a framework that creates three separate but equal branches of government that are designed to conflict with each other’s powers and interests. President Trump challenged Congress’ subpoena authority by refusing to answer the subpoenas and by taking his case to court. The Supreme Court has decided to hear all three of the president’s subpoena challenges and issue a judgment resolving the dispute. This impeachment charge essentially says that a U.S. president is not permitted to challenge congressional subpoenas in court. In accusing President Trump of assuming legislative power over impeachment, Congress essentially assumes judicial power denying the president’s right to challenge Congress and declaring its own subpoenas to be unquestionable. How can Congress demand the president be removed from office for assuming another branch’s constitutional powers and then do the very same thing itself? That is nonsensical and is certainly not a basis to remove the president from office.

The charges against President Trump in the two articles of impeachment do not withstand fact-based scrutiny or the constitutional requirement of “high crimes or misdemeanors” for impeaching a president and removing him from office. This resolution that brought the articles of impeachment to the House floor should have been rejected by the House so that the matter of impeaching the president under these insufficient and ridiculous charges could be laid to rest and members of Congress could return to the serious business of governing the country.

The House of Representatives voted to approve the resolution and advance the articles of impeachment on December 18, 2019, at 11:55 a.m. ET in a roll call vote of 228 – 197.

To see how your elected officials stack up or other votes that compose the Liberty Score, view our full scorecard here.

CR position: NO


U.S. House of Representatives*

*Minority party in italics

 AYEs — 228

Adams
Aguilar
Allred
Amash
Axne
Barragán
Bass
Beatty
Bera
Beyer
Bishop (GA)
Blumenauer
Blunt Rochester
Bonamici
Boyle, Brendan F.
Brindisi
Brown (MD)
Brownley (CA)
Bustos
Butterfield
Carbajal
Cárdenas
Carson (IN)
Cartwright
Case
Casten (IL)
Castor (FL)
Castro (TX)
Chu, Judy
Cicilline
Cisneros
Clark (MA)
Clarke (NY)
Clay
Cleaver
Clyburn
Cohen
Connolly
Cooper
Correa
Costa
Courtney
Cox (CA)
Craig
Crist
Crow
Cuellar
Cunningham
Davids (KS)
Davis (CA)
Davis, Danny K.
Dean
DeFazio
DeGette
DeLauro
DelBene
Delgado
Demings
DeSaulnier
Deutch
Dingell
Doggett
Doyle, Michael F.
Engel
Escobar
Eshoo
Espaillat
Evans
Finkenauer
Fletcher
Foster
Frankel
Fudge
Garamendi
García (IL)
Garcia (TX)
Golden
Gomez
Gonzalez (TX)
Gottheimer
Green, Al (TX)
Grijalva
Haaland
Harder (CA)
Hastings
Hayes
Heck
Higgins (NY)
Himes
Horn, Kendra S.
Horsford
Houlahan
Hoyer
Huffman
Jackson Lee
Jayapal
Jeffries
Johnson (GA)
Johnson (TX)
Kaptur
Keating
Kelly (IL)
Kennedy
Khanna
Kildee
Kilmer
Kim
Kind
Kirkpatrick
Krishnamoorthi
Kuster (NH)
Lamb
Langevin
Larsen (WA)
Larson (CT)
Lawrence
Lawson (FL)
Lee (CA)
Lee (NV)
Levin (CA)
Levin (MI)
Lewis
Lieu, Ted
Lipinski
Loebsack
Lofgren
Lowenthal
Lowey
Luján
Luria
Lynch
Malinowski
Maloney, Carolyn B.
Maloney, Sean
Matsui
McAdams
McBath
McCollum
McEachin
McGovern
McNerney
Meeks
Meng
Moore
Morelle
Moulton
Mucarsel-Powell
Murphy (FL)
Nadler
Napolitano
Neal
Neguse
Norcross
O’Halleran
Ocasio-Cortez
Omar
Pallone
Panetta
Pappas
Pascrell
Payne
Perlmutter
Peters
Phillips
Pingree
Pocan
Porter
Pressley
Price (NC)
Quigley
Raskin
Rice (NY)
Richmond
Rose (NY)
Rouda
Roybal-Allard
Ruiz
Ruppersberger
Rush
Ryan
Sánchez
Sarbanes
Scanlon
Schakowsky
Schiff
Schneider
Schrader
Schrier
Scott (VA)
Scott, David
Sewell (AL)
Shalala
Sherman
Sherrill
Sires
Slotkin
Smith (WA)
Soto
Spanberger
Speier
Stanton
Stevens
Suozzi
Swalwell (CA)
Takano
Thompson (CA)
Thompson (MS)
Titus
Tlaib
Tonko
Torres (CA)
Torres Small (NM)
Trahan
Trone
Underwood
Vargas
Veasey
Vela
Velázquez
Visclosky
Wasserman Schultz
Waters
Watson Coleman
Welch
Wexton
Wild
Wilson (FL)
Yarmuth

NOEs — 197

Abraham
Aderholt
Allen
Amodei
Armstrong
Arrington
Babin
Bacon
Baird
Balderson
Banks
Barr
Bergman
Biggs
Bilirakis
Bishop (NC)
Bishop (UT)
Bost
Brady
Brooks (AL)
Brooks (IN)
Buchanan
Buck
Bucshon
Budd
Burchett
Burgess
Byrne
Calvert
Carter (GA)
Carter (TX)
Chabot
Cheney
Cline
Cloud
Cole
Collins (GA)
Comer
Conaway
Cook
Crawford
Crenshaw
Curtis
Davidson (OH)
Davis, Rodney
DesJarlais
Diaz-Balart
Duncan
Dunn
Emmer
Estes
Ferguson
Fitzpatrick
Fleischmann
Flores
Fortenberry
Foxx (NC)
Fulcher
Gaetz
Gallagher
Gianforte
Gibbs
Gohmert
Gonzalez (OH)
Gooden
Gosar
Granger
Graves (GA)
Graves (LA)
Graves (MO)
Green (TN)
Griffith
Grothman
Guest
Guthrie
Hagedorn
Harris
Hartzler
Hern, Kevin
Herrera Beutler
Hice (GA)
Higgins (LA)
Hill (AR)
Holding
Hollingsworth
Hudson
Huizenga
Hurd (TX)
Johnson (LA)
Johnson (OH)
Johnson (SD)
Jordan
Joyce (OH)
Joyce (PA)
Katko
Keller
Kelly (MS)
Kelly (PA)
King (IA)
King (NY)
Kinzinger
Kustoff (TN)
LaHood
LaMalfa
Lamborn
Latta
Lesko
Long
Loudermilk
Lucas
Luetkemeyer
Marchant
Marshall
Massie
Mast
McCarthy
McCaul
McClintock
McHenry
McKinley
Meadows
Meuser
Miller
Mitchell
Moolenaar
Mooney (WV)
Mullin
Murphy (NC)
Newhouse
Norman
Nunes
Olson
Palazzo
Palmer
Pence
Perry
Peterson
Posey
Ratcliffe
Reed
Reschenthaler
Rice (SC)
Riggleman
Roby
Rodgers (WA)
Roe, David P.
Rogers (AL)
Rogers (KY)
Rooney (FL)
Rose, John W.
Rouzer
Roy
Rutherford
Scalise
Schweikert
Scott, Austin
Sensenbrenner
Simpson
Smith (MO)
Smith (NE)
Smith (NJ)
Smucker
Spano
Stauber
Stefanik
Steil
Steube
Stewart
Stivers
Taylor
Thompson (PA)
Thornberry
Timmons
Tipton
Turner
Upton
Van Drew
Wagner
Walberg
Walden
Walker
Walorski
Waltz
Watkins
Weber (TX)
Webster (FL)
Wenstrup
Westerman
Williams
Wilson (SC)
Wittman
Womack
Woodall
Wright
Yoho
Young
Zeldin

Not Voting — 5

Gabbard
Gallego
Hunter
Serrano
Shimkus

*Minority party in italics

Author: CR Staff