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Nearly all Democrats expected to back articles of impeachment

Nearly all Democrats expected to back articles of impeachment

Nearly all House Democrats are taking the plunge and planning to vote for the articles of impeachment against President TrumpDonald TrumpSenators given no timeline on removal of National Guard, Capitol fence Democratic fury with GOP explodes in House Georgia secretary of state withholds support for 'reactionary' GOP voting bills MORE on Wednesday.

As of Tuesday afternoon, all but four of the 31 Democrats representing districts Trump won in 2016 had announced that they will support both articles of impeachment accusing the president of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

Just two Democrats have indicated that they will oppose the articles, setting up what’s expected to be a highly partisan affair with few members on either side of the aisle breaking party lines.

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A third Democrat, Jared Golden (Maine), said Tuesday that he would vote for only one article — abuse of power — but would oppose charging the president with obstruction of Congress. The fourth has yet to publicly declare how he will vote.

The majority of Democrats in tough districts tried to keep impeachment at arm’s length for most of this year. But following the whistleblower complaint and House investigation into Trump’s attempts to pressure the Ukrainian government to investigate his political opponents while withholding military aid, those Democrats now say that it’s time.

“To be honest with you, if this was a political calculation, then I wouldn't have come out for an inquiry and I wouldn't be voting yes on articles,” said freshman Rep. Elissa SlotkinElissa SlotkinTwo men charged with making threatening calls to Michigan officials House Democrats request documents from DHS intelligence office about Jan. 6 attack Lawmakers mull domestic terrorism statute in wake of Jan. 6 attack MORE (D-Mich.), who represents a district that Trump won by nearly 7 points. “It's the biggest honor of my life to represent this district, but I'm not going to compromise my integrity to do it.”

Only one Democrat representing a district that went for Trump has yet to say how he would vote: Rep. Ron KindRonald (Ron) James KindSix ways to visualize a divided America House Republican campaign arm rolls out target list for midterms Five centrist Democrats oppose Pelosi for Speaker in tight vote MORE (Wis.), who declined to state his position on Tuesday and told reporters in the Capitol to “tune in tomorrow.”

But he did not sound sympathetic toward Trump, saying that “it certainly looks like the president's in big trouble here in the House.”

Democratic Reps. Collin PetersonCollin Clark PetersonSix ways to visualize a divided America On The Trail: The political losers of 2020 OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump admin to sell oil leases at Arctic wildlife refuge before Biden takes office |Trump administration approves controversial oil testing method in Gulf of Mexico | Rep. Scott wins House Agriculture Committee gavel MORE (Minn.) and Jefferson Van Drew (N.J.) have indicated they will break party lines and oppose both articles of impeachment. 

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But Van Drew is signaling plans to switch parties, though it is unclear if he will officially become a Republican before voting on the articles of impeachment.

“Impeachment is going to fracture the country even more,” Van Drew told reporters Tuesday.  “Impeachment is going to make people even angrier and angrier at each other, and we're going to have an election in 10 or 11 months.” 

Several Democrats in crossover districts on Tuesday joined the ranks of their cohorts who had already announced their plans to back the impeachment articles. They included Reps. Mikie SherrillRebecca (Mikie) Michelle SherrillCalls grow for 9/11-style panel to probe Capitol attack Belfast's Troubles echo in today's Washington Democrats point fingers on whether Capitol rioters had inside help MORE (N.J.), Lauren UnderwoodLauren UnderwoodNew cyber panel chair zeros in on election security, SolarWinds hack Overnight Health Care: New COVID-19 cases nationally drop below 100K for first time in 2021 | CDC warns states against lifting restrictions amid threat of virus variants | Health officials warn COVID-19 eradication unlikely Black maternal health omnibus package introduced by Democratic lawmakers MORE (Ill.), Cheri BustosCheryl (Cheri) Lea BustosHouse Republican campaign arm rolls out target list for midterms Lobbying world Five centrist Democrats oppose Pelosi for Speaker in tight vote MORE (Ill.), Abby FinkenauerAbby Lea FinkenauerChamber of Commerce slams GOP effort to challenge Biden's win Iowa losses underscore Democrats' struggles with attracting rural voters Here are the 17 GOP women newly elected to the House this year MORE (Iowa), Cindy AxneCindy AxneIowa Democrat quarantining after staffer tests positive for COVID-19 On The Money: Biden calls Dems, urges big COVID bill | Biden's SEC pick sidelined as GameStop drama unfolds | Bezos stepping down as Amazon CEO Democrats offer bill to provide tax relief to unemployment recipients MORE (Iowa), David Loebsack (Iowa), Haley StevensHaley Maria StevensIowa Democrat quarantining after staffer tests positive for COVID-19 Democrats condemn 'lawlessness' amid Capitol chaos Democrat Haley Stevens hangs on to Michigan House seat MORE (Mich.), Kendra HornKendra Suzanne HornThe US's investment in AI is lagging, we have a chance to double it What should Biden do with NASA and the Artemis Program? Here are the 17 GOP women newly elected to the House this year MORE (Okla.) and Anthony Brindisi (N.Y.).

Swing-district Democrats said there was no coordination among their freshman colleagues to come out in favor of impeachment. They each assessed the evidence against Trump and arrived at the same decision individually, said freshman Rep. Dean PhillipsDean PhillipsCurator estimates Capitol art damage from mob totals K Architect of the Capitol considering display on Jan. 6 riot Rep. Phillips says he did not truly understand white privilege until the Capitol riot MORE (D-Minn.). 

“I think there might be a sense that somehow we all talked with each other and we all decided to jump together. But the truth is we came to our conclusions independently and for the same reason,” Phillips, who unseated a GOP incumbent in a district carried by Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonShelby endorses Shalanda Young for OMB director should Biden pull Tanden's nomination Jennifer Palmieri: 'Ever since I was aware of politics, I wanted to be in politics' Cruz: Wife 'pretty pissed' about leaked Cancun texts MORE, told The Hill. 

“A lot of us ran for Congress because we wanted to bring principles to a place that so favors self-preservation,” Phillips added. “And that's why I'm really proud of my colleagues because many of them, myself included, could lose our jobs over this. And if we do, so be it. That's the consensus of my colleagues.”

House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerGeorge Floyd police reform bill reintroduced in House House conservatives push back on efforts to revive earmarks Hoyer: House will vote on COVID-19 relief bill Friday MORE (D-Md.) reiterated that impeachment will be a vote of conscience for his members and that no one in leadership is pressuring them to vote one way or the other.

“I have not asked a single member, nor has [Speaker Nancy] Pelosi [D-Calif.] asked a single member, to vote for or against,” Hoyer told reporters. “I think the greatest protection these members will have — all members will have — is that they vote their conviction and the Constitution, not their politics.” 

Horn and Brindisi, who represent districts deep in Trump country, were considered among the most likely to break party lines.

But ultimately the two fell in line as the number of vulnerable Democrats backing impeachment swelled in recent days.

Horn defeated a GOP incumbent last year by just 1 point in a district Trump carried by 13 points. 

She said in a statement that "the oath I took to protect and defend the Constitution requires a vote for impeachment."

Brindisi, whose district went for Trump by 15 points, acknowledged in an interview with The Post-Standard that “I know some people will be upset with me.” 

“President Trump is my president, too,” Brindisi said. “I always said I would work with him, but that I would put our country first and stand up for what I believe in.” 

Also among the Democrats to hold out on announcing a position on impeachment until the day before the vote was Bustos, who chairs the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and leads party campaign strategy.

Bustos easily won reelection in recent election cycles but represents a district that Trump carried by less than a point.

“With both a profound sense of constitutional duty and deep respect for the Office of the Presidency, I will solemnly cast my vote in favor of both articles of impeachment for Senate consideration,” Bustos said in a statement.

Republicans, on the other hand, are not expecting any defections.

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Only three House Republicans represent crossover districts that Clinton carried, and all are expected to hold the party line. 

One of those Republicans, Rep. Brian FitzpatrickBrian K. FitzpatrickDCCC releases Spanish-language ads hitting GOP on QAnon On The Money: Biden signals he'll move forward on COVID-19 relief without GOP | Economy adds 49K jobs in January | Minimum wage push sparks Democratic divisions New Democratic super PAC to target swing-district Republicans over vote to overturn election MORE (Pa.), acknowledged on Tuesday that he thought Trump’s July call with the Ukrainian president pressing for the investigations “showed poor judgement” and that “law enforcement matters must always remain separate and distinct from political matters.”

Yet Fitzpatrick went on to argue in a statement that he believed the impeachment inquiry had been “rushed” and “partisan,” therefore falling short of his standards for support. 

Rep. Katherine ClarkKatherine Marlea ClarkPelosi says House will move immediately on COVID-19 relief Biden's inauguration marked by conflict of hope and fear Sanders defends push to impeach Trump: Insurrection won't be tolerated MORE (D-Mass.), the Democratic caucus vice chairwoman, acknowledged that the party is taking a big risk with impeachment. 

“We don't know how this may or may not affect the 2020 elections,” Clark told reporters in the Capitol. 

“But we know this: We have this opportunity in the history of our country to stand up, defend our Constitution and send a clear message not only to this president but to every president in the future that we are a coequal branch of government that is going to insist that no one is above the law.”

Mike Lillis contributed.