House votes to kill impeachment effort against Trump

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 TrumpO'Rourke: Trump driving global, U.S. economy into recession Manchin: Trump has 'golden opportunity' on gun reforms Objections to Trump's new immigration rule wildly exaggerated MORE.

A majority of Democrats, along with the chamber’s Republicans, voted to table the measure sponsored by Rep. Al GreenAlexander (Al) N. GreenWe need a climate plan for agriculture No industry will be impacted by climate change worse than agriculture Five factors that will determine gun control debate 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 MuellerTrump calls for probe of Obama book deal Democrats express private disappointment with Mueller testimony Kellyanne Conway: 'I'd like to know' if Mueller read his own report MORE is set to testify before two committees on Capitol Hill.

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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 PelosiObjections to Trump's new immigration rule wildly exaggerated Latest pro-democracy rally draws tens of thousands in Hong Kong Lewandowski on potential NH Senate run: If I run, 'I'm going to win' 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 HoyerLiberal Democrat eyes aid cuts to Israel after Omar, Tlaib denied entry Lawmakers blast Trump as Israel bars door to Tlaib and Omar Israel denies Omar and Tlaib entry after Trump tweet MORE (Md.), Majority Whip James Clyburn (S.C.) and House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem JeffriesHakeem Sekou JeffriesAppetite for Democratic term limits fizzling out Jeffries dismisses optics: We wanted testimony from Mueller, not Robert De Niro Live coverage: Mueller testifies before Congress 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.

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“We’ve got to investigate and change public opinion,” said Rep. Brad ShermanBradley (Brad) James ShermanHillicon Valley: Trump seeks review of Pentagon cloud-computing contract | FTC weighs updating kids' internet privacy rules | Schumer calls for FaceApp probe | Report says states need more money to secure elections Here are the 95 Democrats who voted to support impeachment Maxine Waters says her committee will call in Zuckerberg to testify about Libra 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 YarmuthTrump signs two-year budget deal Lawmakers point to entitlements when asked about deficits House Problem Solvers are bringing real change to Congress MORE (D-Ky.) voted to table the resolution even though he supports impeachment. Rep. Justin AmashJustin AmashLawmakers blast Trump as Israel bars door to Tlaib and Omar House Democrats targeting six more Trump districts for 2020 Sanford headed to New Hampshire amid talk of challenge to Trump 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 NadlerGOP memo deflects some gun questions to 'violence from the left' House Democrats urge Trump to end deportations of Iraqis after diabetic man's death French officials call for investigation of Epstein 'links with France' MORE (N.Y.) and the liberal congresswomen attacked by Trump this week, Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezRepublicans plot comeback in New Jersey Joseph Kennedy mulling primary challenge to Markey in Massachusetts The latest victims of the far-left's environmental zealotry: Long Islanders MORE (N.Y.), Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarTlaib suggests boycotting Maher show after he calls anti-Israel boycott movement 'bullsh-t purity test' The Memo: Trump pushes back amid signs of economic slowdown Tlaib's grandmother to Trump: 'May God ruin' you MORE (Minn.), Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibTlaib suggests boycotting Maher show after he calls anti-Israel boycott movement 'bullsh-t purity test' The Memo: Trump pushes back amid signs of economic slowdown Tlaib's grandmother to Trump: 'May God ruin' you MORE (Mich.) and Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyJoseph Kennedy mulling primary challenge to Markey in Massachusetts Ocasio-Cortez brushes off Trump tweet claiming she is 'fuming' over Tlaib, Omar attention Trump finds consistent foil in 'Squad' MORE (Mass.).

Reps. Mark PocanMark William PocanTrump crosses new line with Omar, Tlaib, Israel move Liberal Democrat eyes aid cuts to Israel after Omar, Tlaib denied entry Democrats give cold shoulder to Warren wealth tax MORE (Wis.) and Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalMedicare for all: fears and facts House Democrats urge Trump to end deportations of Iraqis after diabetic man's death 'KamalaCare' fails to address big problem: That we cannot trust insurance companies 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: O'Rourke proposal targets tech's legal shield | Dem wants public review of FCC agreement with T-Mobile, Sprint | Voters zero in on cybersecurity | Instagram to let users flag misinformation Democrat calls for public review of T-Mobile-Sprint merger agreement Pelosi: Israel's Omar-Tlaib decision 'a sign of weakness' MORE (R.I.), who heads the Democrats’ messaging arm.

Other committee chairs also  voted with Green: Financial Services Chairwoman Maxine WatersMaxine Moore WatersBanks give Congress, New York AG documents related to Russians who may have dealt with Trump: report Maxine Waters: Force us to ban assault weapons 'or kick our a--- out of Congress!' Maxine Waters: Escalating killings in US motivated by Trump's 'race baiting' MORE (Calif.), Natural Resources Chairman Raúl Grijalva (Ariz.), Homeland Security Chairman Bennie ThompsonBennie Gordon ThompsonHillicon Valley: House panel subpoenas 8chan owner | FCC takes step forward on T-Mobile-Sprint merger | Warren wants probe into FTC over Equifax settlement | Groups make new push to end surveillance program House Homeland Security Committee subpoenas 8chan owner What Mississippi ICE raids mean for vulnerable workers MORE (Miss.), Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone Jr.Frank Joseph PalloneLawmakers call on Trump to keep tech legal shield out of trade talks Hillicon Valley: FTC fines Facebook B in privacy settlement | Critics pan settlement as weak | Facebook also faces FTC antitrust probe | Senate panel advances 'deepfakes' legislation | House passes anti-robocall bill House passes anti-robocall bill MORE (N.J.), Appropriations Chairwoman Nita LoweyNita Sue LoweyAppropriators warn White House against clawing back foreign aid Pelosi: Israel's Omar-Tlaib decision 'a sign of weakness' Lawmakers blast Trump as Israel bars door to Tlaib and Omar 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 McCarthyI'm not a Nazi, I'm just a dude: What it's like to be the other Steve King Trump finds consistent foil in 'Squad' Tlaib says she won't visit Israel after being treated like 'a criminal' 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.