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 TrumpSenators demand more details from Trump on intel watchdog firing Overnight Health Care: Trump steps up attack on WHO | Fauci says deaths could be lower than first projected | House panel warns federal stockpile of medical supplies depleted | Mnuchin, Schumer in talks over relief deal Trump says he'll look into small business loan program restricting casinos MORE.

A majority of Democrats, along with the chamber’s Republicans, voted to table the measure sponsored by 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), 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) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout 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 PelosiTrip that led to acting Navy secretary's resignation cost 3K: reports Overnight Health Care: Trump steps up attack on WHO | Fauci says deaths could be lower than first projected | House panel warns federal stockpile of medical supplies depleted | Mnuchin, Schumer in talks over relief deal House Republicans, key administration officials push for additional funding for coronavirus small business loans 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 HoyerLobbying world Procedural politics: What just happened with the coronavirus bill? DC argues it is shortchanged by coronavirus relief bill MORE (Md.), Majority Whip James Clyburn (S.C.) and House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem JeffriesHakeem Sekou JeffriesDemocrats struggle to keep up with Trump messaging on coronavirus Pelosi says House will review Senate coronavirus stimulus package Pelosi says House will draft its own coronavirus funding bill 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 ShermanZoom, grocery delivery, self-isolation: How lawmakers are surviving coronavirus California Democrat wears face mask while presiding over House pro forma session Pelosi scrambles to secure quick passage of coronavirus aid 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 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 (D-Ky.) voted to table the resolution even though he supports impeachment. Rep. Justin AmashJustin AmashHouse Armed Services chairman calls for removal of Navy chief Overnight Defense: Trump 'may look into' dismissal of Navy captain | Acting Navy chief stands by speech calling ousted captain 'stupid' | Dems call for chief's firing | Hospital ship to take coronavirus patients Democratic lawmakers call for Navy chief's firing 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 NadlerHouse Judiciary Committee postpones hearing with Barr amid coronavirus outbreak House Democrats plead with key committee chairman to allow remote voting amid coronavirus pandemic Pelosi rejects calls to shutter Capitol: 'We are the captains of this ship' MORE (N.Y.) and the liberal congresswomen attacked by Trump this week, Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezIlhan Omar edits headline of New York Post article slamming the Squad: 'There, fixed it for you' Trump urges Sanders supporters to join GOP after senator suspends campaign What the coronavirus reveals about the race grievance industry MORE (N.Y.), Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarIlhan Omar edits headline of New York Post article slamming the Squad: 'There, fixed it for you' Trump urges Sanders supporters to join GOP after senator suspends campaign Texas man arrested for allegedly threatening Democrats over coronavirus bill MORE (Minn.), Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibIlhan Omar edits headline of New York Post article slamming the Squad: 'There, fixed it for you' Trump urges Sanders supporters to join GOP after senator suspends campaign Democrats eye additional relief checks for coronavirus MORE (Mich.) and Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyIlhan Omar edits headline of New York Post article slamming the Squad: 'There, fixed it for you' Trump urges Sanders supporters to join GOP after senator suspends campaign Maryland Legislative Black Caucus pushes for state to release racial breakdown of coronavirus impact MORE (Mass.).

Reps. Mark PocanMark William PocanHospitals face shortage of drugs for ventilators Work Share: How to help workers, businesses and states all at once Students with disabilities could lose with COVID-19 stimulus package MORE (Wis.) and Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalWashington state lawmakers press Boeing to accept aid Some Sanders top allies have urged him to withdraw from 2020 race: report Pelosi says House will review Senate coronavirus stimulus package 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: Google bans Zoom from its work computers | Dem cautions White House against using surveillance to fight virus | Lawmakers push House leaders on remote voting House Dems introduce anti-price gouging legislation Local news outlets struggle to survive coronavirus fallout MORE (R.I.), who heads the Democrats’ messaging arm.

Other committee chairs also  voted with Green: Financial Services Chairwoman Maxine WatersMaxine Moore WatersOvernight 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 Democrats, Trump set to battle over implementing T relief bill Maxine Waters unleashes over Trump COVID-19 response: 'Stop congratulating yourself! You're a failure' MORE (Calif.), Natural Resources Chairman Raúl Grijalva (Ariz.), Homeland Security Chairman Bennie ThompsonBennie Gordon ThompsonDemocrats struggle to keep up with Trump messaging on coronavirus Pelosi forms House committee to oversee coronavirus response Democrats introduce bill to set up commission to review coronavirus response MORE (Miss.), Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone Jr.Frank Joseph PalloneOvernight Health Care — Presented by That's Medicaid — Deal on surprise medical bills faces obstacles | House GOP unveils rival drug pricing measure ahead of Pelosi vote | Justices to hear case over billions in ObamaCare payments Obstacles remain for deal on surprise medical bills This week: House impeachment inquiry hits crucial stretch MORE (N.J.), Appropriations Chairwoman Nita LoweyNita Sue LoweyHouse Democrats unveil coronavirus economic response package Biden rolls out over a dozen congressional endorsements after latest primary wins Trump, Congress struggle for economic deal under coronavirus threat 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 McCarthyHillicon Valley: Google bans Zoom from its work computers | Dem cautions White House against using surveillance to fight virus | Lawmakers push House leaders on remote voting Rep. Massie threatens to block next relief bill, calls for remote voting Lawmakers outline proposals for virtual voting 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.