House rejects Democrat's resolution to impeach Trump

The House on Wednesday rejected an effort to impeach President Trump in a vote that nonetheless pointed to growing support on the left for driving the president out of office.

In a 364-58 vote, lawmakers tabled an impeachment resolution from Rep. Al GreenAlexander (Al) N. GreenPelosi pushes back against Steyer’s impeachment push Dems see Mueller firing as a red line on impeachment Senate Dem denounces Farrakhan's remarks MORE (D-Texas). Every Republican voted with a majority of Democrats to turn away the resolution, while four Democrats voted "present." 

Yet despite the objections of their leadership, 58 Democrats voted in support of the resolution — an unexpectedly high tally, representing nearly one-third of the caucus. The group included lawmakers who haven’t necessarily been vocal about supporting impeachment. 

Green’s articles of impeachment did not allege Trump has specifically committed a crime. Instead, Green argued that Trump has “brought disrepute, contempt, ridicule and disgrace on the presidency” and “sown discord among the people of the United States.” 

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To back up Green’s assertion, the articles of impeachment cited Trump’s equivocating response to the violent clash between white supremacists and counterprotesters in Charlottesville, Va.; retweets of anti-Muslim videos posted by a fringe British nationalist group; criticisms of NFL players kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality; disparate treatment of hurricane victims in Puerto Rico compared to Texas and Florida; and personal attacks against Rep. Frederica WilsonFrederica Patricia WilsonLawmakers planning hearings over deadly Niger attack Record number of black women running for office in Alabama after Roy Moore defeat Florida Democrat: '80 percent' of the US agrees with students on gun control MORE (D-Fla.), who, like Green, is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus.

House Democratic leaders made clear they don’t support impeachment at this point, citing the ongoing special counsel investigation into whether the Trump campaign was involved with the Russian government’s effort to influence the 2016 presidential election. 

House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiHoyer declines to endorse call for leadership shake-up if Dems lose House Pelosi urges Dems to vote against trucking amendments in FAA bill GOP anxiety grows over Trump’s Iran decision MORE (D-Calif.) and Minority Whip Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerHouse unanimously passes Music Modernization Act Hoyer declines to endorse call for leadership shake-up if Dems lose House Trump taps USTR's Gerrish as acting head of Export-Import Bank MORE (D-Md.) voted to table Green's resolution. In a statement, they said there are "legitimate questions" about Trump's fitness for office, but that the ongoing investigations into Trump by congressional committees and the FBI need to play out.

"Right now, Congressional committees continue to be deeply engaged in investigations into the President’s actions both before and after his inauguration. The special counsel’s investigation is moving forward as well, and those inquiries should be allowed to continue."

"Now is not the time to consider articles of impeachment," they wrote.

Still, Democratic leaders did not whip rank-and-file members to vote a certain way on Green’s measure, aides said.

The four Democrats who voted "present" on tabling the resolution were Reps. Joaquin CastroJoaquin CastroJulian Castro predicts Arizona will 'go blue' for Senate, presidential election Republican lawmaker introduces new cyber deterrence bill Lawmakers discuss Latino education gap MORE (Texas), Marc VeaseyMarc Allison VeaseyHow much collateral damage will there be in the 2018 midterms? Armed Services chair: US should be 'alert' about Russian mercenaries in Syria Overnight Defense: Mattis vows Dreamers in military won't be deported | Pentagon unsure if military parade will be in Washington | Dem bill would block funds for parade MORE (Texas), Carol Shea-PorterCarol Shea-PorterSanders expresses pride, but says his son will run his own campaign in New Hampshire Bernie Sanders's son launches congressional bid in New Hampshire Bernie Sanders's son considering running for Congress MORE (N.H.) and Terri SewellTerrycina (Terri) Andrea SewellRecord number of black women running for office in Alabama after Roy Moore defeat Dem: Trump blocking memo shows he's 'not interested in transparency' Recy Taylor's granddaughter to attend State of the Union as Dem's guest MORE (Ala.). Trump won Shea-Porter's district in last year's election.

Green acknowledged that his effort to force an impeachment vote was facing opposition from fellow Democrats. But after pushing for Trump’s impeachment for months, he said he believes Congress needs to discuss the president’s fitness for office.

“May everyone vote their conscience knowing that history will judge us all,” Green wrote in a letter to fellow lawmakers on Tuesday.

Democrats voting in support of Green's resolution included lawmakers who haven't called for impeachment or who aren’t considered particularly left-wing.  

As recently as this summer, Rep. Michael CapuanoMichael (Mike) Everett CapuanoFive lawmakers facing tough primary races Lawmakers scold railroads over delay in safety upgrades Feds: Amtrak engineer missed speed sign before train derailment MORE (D-Mass.), a leadership ally, warned against forcing lawmakers to go on the record about impeachment. At the time, Rep. Brad ShermanBradley (Brad) James ShermanRepublican lawmaker introduces new cyber deterrence bill Perry cites competition from Russia, China to defend nuclear talks with Saudis Why cryptocurrencies aren't going away MORE (D-Calif.) had said he might force a vote on his article of impeachment, but never went through with it. 

But on Wednesday, Capuano voted against tabling Green's impeachment measure.

"Practically and politically, I think most of us can agree that passing articles of impeachment in this House isn’t realistic at this moment in our history. But sometimes, it’s more important to follow your heart than do the practical or political calculation," Capuano wrote in a Facebook post explaining his vote. 

Only one member of the House Democratic leadership hierarchy, Assistant Minority Leader James Clyburn (S.C.), voted in favor of Green's resolution. Many fellow members of the Congressional Black Caucus, including its chairman, Rep. Cedric RichmondCedric Levon RichmondDems call for investigation into lawmakers who sleep at the Capitol Democrats propose .7 billion in grants for election security House Dem opposition mounts to budget deal MORE (D-La.), joined him. 

Rep. Keith EllisonKeith Maurice Ellison Keith Ellison: 'Women are dying because we are losing elections' Dem says frosted glass indicates lack of 'transparency' at CFPB Overnight Health Care: Trump officials create new mandate exemptions | Insurance official warns of premium spikes | Dem questions hiring of drug pricing official MORE (D-Minn.), deputy chairman of the Democratic National Committee, also sided with Green. 

Green first unveiled a draft of his articles of impeachment in October, but refrained from triggering a vote at the time to allow the public to review them.

Under House rules, any member can offer a “privileged” resolution on the floor that must receive legislative action within two days. Green used that process to ensure a vote on impeachment. 

Other Democrats have also pushed for Trump’s impeachment this year, but unlike Green have not forced a vote on the issue.

Sherman introduced an article of impeachment in July alleging that Trump obstructed justice by firing James Comey as FBI director amid the investigation into Russia's election meddling.

And last month, a group of six Democrats unveiled articles of impeachment accusing Trump of obstructing justice by ousting Comey, violating the foreign emoluments clause barring public officials from receiving gifts from foreign governments without the consent of Congress and undermining the courts and the media.

That group of Democrats consisted of Green and Reps. Steve CohenStephen (Steve) Ira CohenTennessee Dem rips state lawmakers for punishing Memphis over statues Trump’s zeal for administration firings denigrates public servants House Dem moves to force vote on bill protecting Mueller MORE (Tenn.), Luis Gutiérrez (Ill.), Marcia FudgeMarcia Louise FudgeHouse rejects effort to condemn lawmaker for demanding 'Dreamer' arrests Hispanic Dems seek vote to condemn GOP lawmaker for demanding arrests of 'Dreamers' Dem lawmaker: ‘We are seeing the dumbing down of the presidency’ MORE (Ohio), John YarmuthJohn Allen YarmuthRyan leaves legacy of tax cuts and deficits Kentucky candidate takes heat for tweeting he'd like to use congressman for target practice Republican health policy is destroying rural health care MORE (Ky.) and Adriano EspaillatAdriano de Jesus Espaillat CabralLawmakers worry about rise of fake video technology Left fears Democrats will give too much on immigration Trump’s border wall becomes flashpoint in shutdown fight MORE (N.Y.).

The Democratic divisions overshadowed the unanimous vote of Republicans, who have stood by Trump throughout his 11 months in office, despite nonstop controversies. 

“[Fifty-eight] members of Congress simply couldn’t resist the temptation to show their contempt of President Trump. Rather than working with civility to bridge their differences with the Administration, they just voted for his impeachment,” Rep. David McKinleyDavid Bennett McKinleyOvernight Health Care: Rep. Debbie Dingell on the pain and tragedy of the opioids crisis | DEA moves to curb opioid oversupply | Dem says Trump pick opposes VA privatization New affordable drugs advocacy group pledges six figures in first 2018 endorsement Overnight Tech: Highlights from Zuckerberg's second day of testimony | Trump signs anti-sex trafficking bill | Cambridge Analytica interim CEO steps down | IBM stops advertising on Laura Ingraham's show MORE (R-W.Va.) wrote on Twitter. 

— This story was updated at 4:01 p.m.