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. GreenOvernight Energy: Iconic national parks close over coronavirus concerns | New EPA order limits telework post-pandemic | Lawmakers urge help for oil and gas workers Bipartisan lawmakers urge assistance for oil and gas workers Lawmakers shame ex-Wells Fargo directors for failing to reboot bank 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 WilsonHere are the lawmakers who have self-quarantined as a precaution Biden rise calms Democratic jitters Democrats tear into Trump's speech: It was a 'MAGA rally' 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 PelosiOvernight Health Care: White House projects grim death toll from coronavirus | Trump warns of 'painful' weeks ahead | US surpasses China in official virus deaths | CDC says 25 percent of cases never show symptoms 14 things to know for today about coronavirus Hillicon Valley: Trump, telecom executives talk coronavirus response | Pelosi pushes funding for mail-in voting | New York AG wants probe into firing of Amazon worker | Marriott hit by another massive breach MORE (D-Calif.) and Minority Whip Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerProcedural politics: What just happened with the coronavirus bill? DC argues it is shortchanged by coronavirus relief bill Lysol, disinfecting wipes and face masks mark coronavirus vote in House 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 CastroLatinos projected to bear economic brunt of coronavirus Burr requests ethics investigation into stock sale, denies wrongdoing Castro forms PAC, boosts five House candidates MORE (Texas), Marc VeaseyMarc Allison VeaseyOvernight Energy: Iconic national parks close over coronavirus concerns | New EPA order limits telework post-pandemic | Lawmakers urge help for oil and gas workers Bipartisan lawmakers urge assistance for oil and gas workers Democratic candidates gear up for a dramatic Super Tuesday MORE (Texas), Carol Shea-PorterCarol Shea-PorterThe 31 Trump districts that will determine the next House majority New Hampshire New Members 2019 Democrat Chris Pappas wins New Hampshire House seat MORE (N.H.) and Terri SewellTerrycina (Terri) Andrea SewellDemocratic candidates gear up for a dramatic Super Tuesday Bill banning menthol in cigarettes divides Democrats, with some seeing racial bias Sanders, Warren battle for progressive endorsements 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 CapuanoInside the progressive hunt for vulnerable House Democrats Progressive mayor launches primary challenge to top Ways and Means Democrat Ex-GOP Rep. Roskam joins lobbying firm 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 ShermanPelosi scrambles to secure quick passage of coronavirus aid House Democrats eyeing much broader Phase 3 stimulus Overnight Defense: Lawmakers clash during Pompeo hearing on Iran | Trump touts Taliban deal ahead of signing | Trump sued over plan to use Pentagon funds for border wall 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 RichmondHillicon Valley: House passes key surveillance bill | Paul, Lee urge Trump to kill FISA deal | White House seeks help from tech in coronavirus fight | Dem urges Pence to counter virus misinformation Lawmakers criticize Trump's slashed budget for key federal cyber agency Government report offers guidelines to prevent nationwide cyber catastrophe MORE (D-La.), joined him. 

Rep. Keith EllisonKeith Maurice EllisonScalise after Democrat asks for examples of Sanders supporters 'being bad': 'I can think of an example' Progressive prosecutors hit back at Barr criticism Key House Democrat says Perez must go: 'He doesn't lead on anything' 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 CohenMemphis congressman asks Tennessee, neighboring states to issue shelter-in-place orders Centrist Democrats insist Sanders would need delegate majority to win Clinton advises checking your voter registration during Trump's State of the Union MORE (Tenn.), Luis Gutiérrez (Ill.), Marcia FudgeMarcia Louise FudgeClyburn urges Biden to pick black woman as running mate: 'African American women need to be rewarded' for loyalty Clyburn takes victory lap after Biden wins big on Super Tuesday Establishment Democrats rallying behind Biden MORE (Ohio), John YarmuthJohn Allen YarmuthHouse Democrats plead with key committee chairman to allow remote voting amid coronavirus pandemic Kentucky Democrat: House lawmakers will not vote remotely during outbreak Dem Congressman: Coronavirus stimulus should be bigger than 2008 MORE (Ky.) and Adriano EspaillatAdriano de Jesus Espaillat CabralObama presses for social distancing policies to remain in place Self-quarantined New York lawmaker: 'We should be in total lockdown' Activists, analysts demand Congress consider immigrants in coronavirus package 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 McKinleyMLB, Congress play hardball in fight over minor leagues Koch campaign touts bipartisan group behind ag labor immigration bill 'Minor league cities' need new federal partnership MORE (R-W.Va.) wrote on Twitter. 

— This story was updated at 4:01 p.m.