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 TrumpPelosi arrives in Jordan with bipartisan congressional delegation Trump says his Doral resort will no longer host G-7 after backlash CNN's Anderson Cooper mocks WH press secretary over Fox News interview MORE.

A majority of Democrats, along with the chamber’s Republicans, voted to table the measure sponsored by Rep. Al GreenAlexander (Al) N. GreenTrump criticizes Clinton for suggesting Jill Stein was Russian asset Climate finance must push net-zero emissions Trump impeachment efforts will haunt the next Democrat in the White House 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 MuellerFox News legal analyst says Trump call with Ukraine leader could be 'more serious' than what Mueller 'dragged up' Lewandowski says Mueller report was 'very clear' in proving 'there was no obstruction,' despite having 'never' read it Fox's Cavuto roasts Trump over criticism of network MORE is set to testify before two committees on Capitol Hill.

ADVERTISEMENT

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 PelosiPelosi arrives in Jordan with bipartisan congressional delegation Trump says his Doral resort will no longer host G-7 after backlash Scrap House defense authorization provision benefitting Russia 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 HoyerHouse Republicans 'demand the release of the rules' on impeachment Scalise, Cole introduce resolution to change rules on impeachment Hillicon Valley: Zuckerberg defends handling of misinformation in political ads | Biden camp hits Zuckerberg over remarks | Dem bill would jail tech execs for lying about privacy | Consumer safety agency accidentally disclosed personal data MORE (Md.), Majority Whip James Clyburn (S.C.) and House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem JeffriesHakeem Sekou JeffriesLawmakers from both sides of the aisle mourn Cummings House chairman: Pompeo not complying with impeachment inquiry Sunday shows - Second whistleblower grabs spotlight 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.

ADVERTISEMENT

“We’ve got to investigate and change public opinion,” said Rep. Brad ShermanBradley (Brad) James ShermanCongress must push for a 'Gold Standard' nuclear agreement with Saudi Arabia Critics pounce as Facebook crypto project stumbles This week: Congress returns to chaotic Washington 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 YarmuthOn The Money: Trump signs stopgap spending bill | Shutdown fight delayed to November | Deutsche Bank reveals it has two individual tax returns tied to House subpoena | House Dems demand documents on Ukraine aid It's time to axe the unjust 'widow's tax' House Democrats demand White House turn over docs on Ukraine aid MORE (D-Ky.) voted to table the resolution even though he supports impeachment. Rep. Justin AmashJustin AmashAmash: Clinton's attack on Gabbard will 'drive many people into the arms' of Trump Overnight Defense — Presented by Boeing — House passes resolution rebuking Trump over Syria | Sparks fly at White House meeting on Syria | Dems say Trump called Pelosi a 'third-rate politician' | Trump, Graham trade jabs House passes resolution rebuking Trump over Syria pullout 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 NadlerDem committee chairs blast Trump G-7 announcement Top Democrat holds moment of silence for Cummings at hearing Barr to speak at Notre Dame law school on Friday MORE (N.Y.) and the liberal congresswomen attacked by Trump this week, Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOcasio-Cortez: Sanders' heart attack was a 'gut check' moment Ocasio-Cortez tweets endorsement of Sanders Ocasio-Cortez throws support to Sanders at Queens rally MORE (N.Y.), Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarOcasio-Cortez: Sanders' heart attack was a 'gut check' moment Ocasio-Cortez tweets endorsement of Sanders Ocasio-Cortez throws support to Sanders at Queens rally MORE (Minn.), Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibOcasio-Cortez: Sanders' heart attack was a 'gut check' moment Ocasio-Cortez tweets endorsement of Sanders Ocasio-Cortez throws support to Sanders at Queens rally MORE (Mich.) and Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyOcasio-Cortez mourns Cummings: 'A devastating loss for our country' Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle mourn Cummings Omar endorses Sanders presidential bid MORE (Mass.).

Reps. Mark PocanMark William PocanTop progressive calls for Pompeo's salary to be withheld over Sondland's blocked testimony Democrats take Trump impeachment case to voters Democrats press Nadler to hold Lewandowski in contempt MORE (Wis.) and Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalOvernight Health Care — Presented by National Taxpayers Union —Dem wants more changes to Pelosi drug pricing bill | Ebola outbreak wanes, but funding lags | Johnson & Johnson recalls batch of baby powder after asbestos traces found Overnight Health Care — Presented by National Taxpayers Union — House Dems advance drug pricing bill | Cases of vaping-related lung illnesses near 1,500 | Juul suspends sales of most e-cigarette flavors Warren faces tougher sell with 'Medicare for All' 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: GOP lawmakers offer election security measure | FTC Dem worries government is 'captured' by Big Tech | Lawmakers condemn Apple over Hong Kong censorship FTC Democrat raises concerns that government is 'captured' by large tech companies Democrats want Mulvaney to testify in Trump impeachment probe MORE (R.I.), who heads the Democrats’ messaging arm.

Other committee chairs also  voted with Green: Financial Services Chairwoman Maxine WatersMaxine Moore WatersHillicon Valley: FCC approves T-Mobile-Sprint merger | Dems wrangle over breaking up Big Tech at debate | Critics pounce as Facebook's Libra stumbles | Zuckerberg to be interviewed by Fox News | Twitter details rules for political figures' tweets On The Money: Tax, loan documents for Trump properties reportedly showed inconsistencies | Tensions flare as Dems hammer Trump consumer chief | Critics pounce as Facebook crypto project stumbles Zuckerberg meets with Waters ahead of congressional testimony MORE (Calif.), Natural Resources Chairman Raúl Grijalva (Ariz.), Homeland Security Chairman Bennie ThompsonBennie Gordon ThompsonUS ban on China tech giant faces uncertainty a month out Democrats introduce 'THUG Act' to block funding for G-7 at Trump resort Hillicon Valley: Democrats seize on whistleblower complaint to push for election security | Google taps GOP Senate aide to lead lobbying | Warren calls for congressional tech office MORE (Miss.), Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone Jr.Frank Joseph PalloneLawmakers set to host fundraisers focused on Nats' World Series trip CBO: Pelosi bill to lower drug prices saves Medicare 5 billion Trump official declines to testify on trade protections for tech platforms MORE (N.J.), Appropriations Chairwoman Nita LoweyNita Sue LoweyTrump officials say aid to Puerto Rico was knowingly stalled after Hurricane Maria McConnell tees up government funding votes amid stalemate Dem committee chairs blast Trump G-7 announcement 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 McCarthyHouse Republicans 'demand the release of the rules' on impeachment GOP leader defends Mulvaney amid backlash over quid pro quo comments Republicans seek to delay effort to censure Schiff after Cummings' death 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.