Two House Democrats break with party on impeachment vote

Two House Democrats break with party on impeachment vote
© Greg Nash

Two House Democrats bucked party lines on Thursday and voted against the impeachment inquiry procedure resolution on President TrumpDonald John TrumpThis week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry Impeachment week: Trump probe hits crucial point Judd Gregg: The big, big and bigger problem MORE.

Moderate Reps. Collin PetersonCollin Clark PetersonHow centrist Dems learned to stop worrying and love impeachment GOP lawmaker says House impeachment rules vote 'doesn't change anything for me' Majority of Americans see impeachment inquiry as fair: poll MORE (Minn.) and Jefferson Van Drew (N.J.), who represent swing districts Trump won in 2016, opted against the measure, which passed 232-196.

The resolution sets the groundwork for public hearings for the ongoing impeachment inquiry and lays out procedures for releasing the transcripts from testimonies that took place behind closed doors. 

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Republican leadership managed to hold its conference together on the vote, with no GOP lawmakers supporting the resolution.

Rep. Justin AmashJustin AmashTrump allies assail impeachment on process while House Democrats promise open hearings soon Hoyer: We are going to move as fast 'as the facts and truth dictate' on open hearings Conway spars with Wallace on whether White House will cooperate with impeachment inquiry after formal vote MORE (I-Mich.), a vocal Trump critic who left the GOP earlier this year, voted with Democrats.

"Without bipartisan support, I believe this inquiry will further divide the country, tearing it apart at the seams and will ultimately fail in the Senate," Van Drew, a freshman who flipped a GOP-held district last year, said in a statement.

"However, now that the vote has taken place and we are moving forward I will be making a judgement call based on all the evidence presented by these investigations."

Peterson, who represents a district that Trump carried by about 30 points, said that pursuing the impeachment process without support from Senate Republicans is a "mistake."

"I have some serious concerns with the way the closed-door depositions were run, and am skeptical that we will have a process that is open, transparent and fair," Peterson said in a statement. "Today’s vote is both unnecessary, and widely misrepresented in the media and by Republicans as a vote on impeachment. I will not make a decision on impeachment until all the facts have been presented.”

In a tweet, Amash warned his former GOP colleagues that "history will not look kindly on disingenuous, frivolous, and false defenses" of Trump's behavior.

The Hill has reached out to Amash’s office for further comment.

The resolution marked the first House floor vote on impeachment since Democrats launched their inquiry last month into Trump’s efforts to pressure the Ukrainian government to open an investigation into former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenImpeachment week: Trump probe hits crucial point Trump DACA fight hits Supreme Court Juan Williams: Honesty, homophobia and Mayor Pete MORE, a leading 2020 rival, and Biden's son Hunter Biden.

Trump has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, and following Thursday's vote he reiterated his characterization of the impeachment inquiry as a "witch hunt" against him.

—Updated at 1:42 p.m. Cristina Marcos contributed.