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. GreenThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the American Academy of HIV Medicine - Next 24 hours critical for stalled funding talks Democrat vows to move forward with impeachment, dividing his party Citing Virginia race scandals, Dem vows vote to impeach Trump 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 WilsonDem behind impeachment push to boycott State of the Union Democrats seek to take on Trump at State of the Union Booker reaches out to lawmakers to seek support for 2020 bid 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 PelosiConstitutional conservatives need to oppose the national emergency House Judiciary Dems seek answers over Trump's national emergency declaration Why don't we build a wall with Canada? MORE (D-Calif.) and Minority Whip Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerWinners and losers in the border security deal Overnight Defense: Trump to sign funding deal, declare national emergency | Shanahan says allies will be consulted on Afghanistan | Dem demands Khashoggi documents On The Money: Trump to sign border deal, declare emergency to build wall | Senate passes funding bill, House to follow | Dems promise challenge to emergency declaration 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 CastroOcasio-Cortez, Castro plan to introduce bill to block national emergency O'Rourke, Schumer huddle on possible 2020 bid: report Political world mourns Dingell, longest-serving member of Congress MORE (Texas), Marc VeaseyMarc Allison VeaseyCongressional Black Caucus faces tough decision on Harris, Booker Overnight Defense: VA pick breezes through confirmation hearing | House votes to move on defense bill negotiations | Senate bill would set 'stringent' oversight on North Korea talks Bipartisan solution is hooked on facts, not fiction MORE (Texas), Carol Shea-PorterCarol Shea-PorterNew Hampshire New Members 2019 Democrat Chris Pappas wins New Hampshire House seat Overnight Energy — Presented by Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance — Trump expected to push pipelines next year | Lawmakers want answers on cancelled wildlife refuge enforcement program | Interior implements new rules for science MORE (N.H.) and Terri SewellTerrycina (Terri) Andrea SewellCongressional Black Caucus faces tough decision on Harris, Booker Former staffer accuses Jackson Lee of retaliation after rape claim Dems offer measure to raise minimum wage to per hour 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 CapuanoFreshman Dem lawmaker says Trump brought dishonor to his office with shutdown Massachusetts New Members 2019 House lawmakers introduce bill to end US support in Yemen civil war 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 ShermanDemocrat vows to move forward with impeachment, dividing his party Trump pick sets up fight over World Bank Pelosi puts tight grip on talk of Trump impeachment 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 RichmondWhitaker takes grilling from House lawmakers Judge tosses lawsuit seeking redo of controversial Saints-Rams game Congressional Black Caucus faces tough decision on Harris, Booker MORE (D-La.), joined him. 

Rep. Keith EllisonKeith Maurice EllisonIlhan Omar defends 2012 tweet: 'I don't know how my comments would be offensive to Jewish Americans' States scramble to fill void left by federal shutdown 116th Congress breaks records for women, minority lawmakers 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 CohenDemocrat vows to move forward with impeachment, dividing his party Five takeaways from acting AG's fiery House hearing Whitaker takes grilling from House lawmakers MORE (Tenn.), Luis Gutiérrez (Ill.), Marcia FudgeMarcia Louise FudgeCongressional Black Caucus faces tough decision on Harris, Booker Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee to step down as CBC Foundation chair amid lawsuit Reporter says to expect Capitol Hill to take action on North Carolina's 9th District MORE (Ohio), John YarmuthJohn Allen YarmuthTrump: Top Dems aren't allowing negotiators to make border security deal Dem rep: 'If Mick Mulvaney were president, we could’ve solved' border talks at Camp David retreat Bipartisan House group heads to Camp David retreat MORE (Ky.) and Adriano EspaillatAdriano de Jesus Espaillat CabralHere are the lawmakers who will forfeit their salaries during the shutdown 8-year-old boy dies in CBP custody Hispanic Caucus picks Castro as its next chair 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 McKinleyRepresenting patients’ voices Super PACs spend big in high-stakes midterms Twitter chief faces GOP anger over bias at hearing MORE (R-W.Va.) wrote on Twitter. 

— This story was updated at 4:01 p.m.