Only two House Democrats broke with their party Thursday and voted against a resolution to advance the Trump impeachment inquiry. The resolution passed by a vote of 232-196, entirely on votes from Democrats and one independent.
Democratic Representatives Collin Peterson of Minnesota and Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey voted no on the resolution. Both congressmen have previously expressed skepticism about the impeachment proceedings against President Trump. Both also represent districts that Mr. Trump won in the 2016 election.
In a statement to CBS News, Peterson called the impeachment process “hopelessly partisan” and said he “will not make a decision on impeachment until all the facts have been presented.”
“I have been hearing from my constituents on both sides of this matter for months, and the escalation of calls this past week just shows me how divided our country really is right now,” Peterson said.
“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. Without support from Senate Republicans, going down this path is a mistake.”
Van Drew said in a statement released after the vote that he believes the inquiry “will further divide the country” and “ultimately fail in the Senate” without bipartisan support.
“However, now that the vote has taken place and we are moving forward I will be making a judgment call based on all the evidence presented by these investigations,” his statement said.
Representatives Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey, left, and Collin Peterson of Minnesota, right, were the only two House Democrats to vote against a resolution on the Trump impeachment inquiry on Oct. 31, 2019. Getty Images
The resolution approved Thursday sets up a formal framework for the impeachment inquiry, which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi launched in September. It lays out rules for eventual public hearings, as well as proceedings for the Judiciary Committee, which would craft any potential articles of impeachment.
Republicans have criticized the Democrats leading the inquiry for holding depositions behind closed doors so far, and some GOP Congress members even protested by storming into a meeting in a secured room.
In addition to Peterson and Van Drew, every Republican present in the House voted against the impeachment resolution. The Democrats who voted for it were joined by one independent, Congressman Justin Amash of Michigan, a former Republican who left the party in July after saying Mr. Trump had engaged in impeachable conduct.
House Republicans pointed to the party-line vote and two Democratic defections as evidence that there isn’t bipartisan support for the impeachment inquiry.
“Speaker Pelosi and Chairman Schiff have both insisted that impeachment should be bipartisan. The only bipartisan vote today was AGAINST impeachment,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy wrote on Twitter.