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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 TrumpMaria Bartiromo defends reporting: 'Keep trashing me, I'll keep telling the truth' The Memo: The center strikes back Republicans eye Nashville crack-up to gain House seat MORE.

A majority of Democrats, along with the chamber’s Republicans, voted to table the measure sponsored by Rep. Al GreenAlexander (Al) N. GreenManchin meets with Texas lawmakers on voting rights Lawmakers roll out legislation to defend pipelines against cyber threats Bipartisan lawmakers call for action on anti-hate crime measures 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) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel 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 PelosiMaria Bartiromo defends reporting: 'Keep trashing me, I'll keep telling the truth' Democratic clamor grows for select committee on Jan. 6 attack GOP increasingly balks at calling Jan. 6 an insurrection 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 HoyerBiden signs Juneteenth bill: 'Great nations don't ignore their most painful moments' House passes political spending, climate change corporate disclosures bill House to vote Wednesday on making Juneteenth a federal holiday MORE (Md.), Majority Whip James Clyburn (S.C.) and House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem JeffriesHakeem Sekou JeffriesDemocrats seek staffer salary boost to compete with K Street Congress tiptoes back to normality post-pandemic White House to Democrats: Get ready to go it alone on infrastructure 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 ShermanOmar feuds with Jewish Democrats Lawmakers tout bipartisan support for resolution criticizing Iran's government Biden funding decision inflames debate over textbooks for Palestinian refugees 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 YarmuthDemocrats shift tone on unemployment benefits The Hill's Morning Report - Dems to go-it-alone on infrastructure as bipartisan plan falters Democratic patience runs out on bipartisan talks MORE (D-Ky.) voted to table the resolution even though he supports impeachment. Rep. Justin AmashJustin AmashAmash warns of turning lawmakers like Cheney into 'heroes' Cheney set to be face of anti-Trump GOP Biden: 'Prince Philip gladly dedicated himself to the people of the UK' 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 NadlerSenate on collision course over Trump DOJ subpoenas Black Democrats press leaders for reparations vote this month House Judiciary to probe DOJ's seizure of data from lawmakers, journalists MORE (N.Y.) and the liberal congresswomen attacked by Trump this week, Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezThe Memo: The center strikes back Democrats facing tough reelections back bipartisan infrastructure deal Harris rebounds after difficult trip MORE (N.Y.), Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarYoung Turks founder on Democratic establishment: 'They lie nonstop' Hillary Clinton backs Shontel Brown in Ohio congressional race The Hill's Morning Report - Dems to go-it-alone on infrastructure as bipartisan plan falters MORE (Minn.), Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibHouse Republicans introduce resolution to censure the 'squad' Progressives rally behind Omar while accusing her critics of bias Omar: I wasn't equating terrorist organizations with democratic countries MORE (Mich.) and Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyIt's past time we elect a Black woman governor House Republicans introduce resolution to censure the 'squad' Progressives rally behind Omar while accusing her critics of bias MORE (Mass.).

Reps. Mark PocanMark William PocanThe Memo: The pre-Trump 'normal' is gone for good Overnight Defense: Pentagon pitches 5B budget | Kamala Harris addresses US Naval Academy graduates Pentagon pitches 5B budget with cuts to older weapons MORE (Wis.) and Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalOvernight Health Care: Biden touts 300 million vaccine doses in 150 days | Biden warns of 'potentially deadlier' delta variant | Public option fades with little outcry from progressives Overnight Energy: Lake Mead's decline points to scary water future in West | White House leads opposition to raising gas tax | Biden taps ex-New Mexico lawmaker for USDA post On The Money: Centrists gain leverage over progressives in Senate infrastructure battle | White House rules out gas tax hike MORE (Wash.), the co-chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, also voted against tabling Green’s articles, as did Rep. David CicillineDavid CicillineGOP divided over bills targeting tech giants Hillicon Valley: House targets tech giants with antitrust bills | Oversight chair presses JBS over payment to hackers | Trump spokesman to join tech company | YouTube suspends GOP senator House unveils antitrust package to rein in tech giants MORE (R.I.), who heads the Democrats’ messaging arm.

Other committee chairs also  voted with Green: Financial Services Chairwoman Maxine WatersMaxine Moore WatersThe tale of the last bipartisan unicorns Tulsa marks race massacre centennial as US grapples with racial injustice Fauci may have unwittingly made himself a key witness for Trump in 'China Flu' hate-speech case MORE (Calif.), Natural Resources Chairman Raúl Grijalva (Ariz.), Homeland Security Chairman Bennie ThompsonBennie Gordon ThompsonDemocratic clamor grows for select committee on Jan. 6 attack Lobbying world Hillicon Valley: Biden gives TikTok and WeChat a reprieve | Colonial Pipeline CEO addresses Congress again | Thomson Reuters shareholders want review of ICE ties MORE (Miss.), Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone Jr.Frank Joseph PalloneIntercept bureau chief: Democrats dropping support of Medicare for All could threaten bill's momentum House Democrats reintroduce road map to carbon neutrality by 2050 House Democrats criticize Texas's 'shortcomings in preparations' on winter storms MORE (N.J.), Appropriations Chairwoman Nita LoweyNita Sue LoweyLobbying world Progressives fight for leverage amid ever-slimming majority Biden needs to tear down bureaucratic walls and refocus Middle East programs 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 McCarthyGOP divided over bills targeting tech giants GOP increasingly balks at calling Jan. 6 an insurrection House Democrats' campaign arm raises almost million in May 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.