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 John TrumpKaine: Obama called Trump a 'fascist' during 2016 campaign Kaine: GOP senators should 'at least' treat Trump trial with seriousness of traffic court Louise Linton, wife of Mnuchin, deletes Instagram post in support of Greta Thunberg 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 SlotkinMixed feelings on war power limits: Lawmakers and vet candidates Democrats plot new approach to win over rural voters Iran resolution supporters fear impeachment will put it on back burner 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 KindTreasury watchdog to investigate Trump opportunity zone program How the 31 Democrats in Trump districts voted on impeachment Nearly all Democrats expected to back articles of impeachment 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 PetersonThe Hill's Morning Report - Dems to lay out impeachment case to senators next week House delivers impeachment articles to Senate Overnight Defense: Foreign policy takes center stage at Democratic debate | House delivers impeachment articles to Senate | Dems vow to force new vote on Trump's border wall 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 SherrillOvernight Defense: Dems raise pressure on Esper to block border wall funds | Trump impeachment trial begins in Senate | Day one dominated by fight over rules House Dems express 'deepening concern' over plans to take .2B from Pentagon for border wall How the 31 Democrats in Trump districts voted on impeachment MORE (N.J.), Lauren UnderwoodLauren UnderwoodAyanna Pressley's 'squad' of congresswomen offers support after she opens up about alopecia Democrats worry party is squandering political opportunity on ObamaCare Overnight Health Care — Presented by Rare Access Action Project — Court ruling reignites ObamaCare fight for 2020 | Congress expands probe into surprise billing | Health industry racks up wins in year-end spending deal MORE (Ill.), Cheri BustosCheryl (Cheri) Lea Bustos Democrats plot new approach to win over rural voters The Hill's Campaign Report: Sanders, Warren feud rattles Democrats House Democrats launch effort to register minority voters in key districts MORE (Ill.), Abby FinkenauerAbby Lea FinkenauerBiden nabs endorsement from Iowa Democrat in swing district The Hill's Morning Report — Dems detail case to remove Trump for abuse of power Biden to go on Iowa tour with swing district lawmakers MORE (Iowa), Cindy AxneCindy Axne Democrats plot new approach to win over rural voters Warren-Sanders dispute thrusts gender into 2020 spotlight Buttigieg picks up Iowa congressman's endorsement ahead of caucuses MORE (Iowa), David Loebsack (Iowa), Haley StevensHaley Maria StevensFormer GOP Michigan congressman says Trump is unfit for office The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by UANI — Pelosi looks to play hardball on timing of impeachment trial Debbie Dingell responds to Trump: 'You brought me down in a way you can never imagine' MORE (Mich.), Kendra HornKendra Suzanne HornThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Pelosi plans to send impeachment articles next week The lawmakers who bucked their parties on the war powers resolution House passes measure seeking to limit Trump on Iran 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 PhillipsHouse votes to temporarily repeal Trump SALT deduction cap Nearly all Democrats expected to back articles of impeachment First-term Democrats push Amash as impeachment manager: report 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 ClintonKaine: Obama called Trump a 'fascist' during 2016 campaign Clinton says Zuckerberg has 'authoritarian' views on misinformation Des Moines Register endorses Elizabeth Warren as Democratic presidential nominee 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 HoyerThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump trial begins with clash over rules House revives agenda after impeachment storm House poised to hand impeachment articles to Senate 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 to run ads tying 11 House Republicans to Trump remarks on entitlements House revives agenda after impeachment storm Former Pennsylvania Rep. Fitzpatrick dead at 56 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 ClarkSanders, Warren battle for progressive endorsements Democrats ramp up calls for war powers vote after Iran strike Nearly all Democrats expected to back articles of impeachment 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.