Impeachment: state Democrats vote to 'hold this president accountable'
Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici said Wednesday, Dec. 18, that it was her obligation to vote to impeach President Donald Trump.
Trump became the third American president to be impeached by the House of Representatives. He faces a trial in the U.S. Senate to determine whether he should be removed from office. Trump was impeached on two articles, one pertaining to a July 25 telephone call with the president of Ukraine, where he asked for the country to investigate Trump's potential 2020 rival, Joe Biden. A second article accused the president of obstructing Congress' investigation of that incident.
Not surprisingly, votes on the articles of impeachment were largely along party line. All four Oregon Democrats voted in favor of both articles. Republican U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, who represents the state's Second Congressional District in Eastern and Southern Oregon, voted against the articles.
On the first article on abuse of power, the House voted 230-197 (three absent and one voting "present"). On the second article on obstruction of Congress, the House voted 229-198 (three absent and one voting "present").
"I swore an oath to uphold the Constitution, and I take my obligation very seriously," Bonamici said after the impeachment vote. "I did that today by voting for the two articles of impeachment, and I will continue to work with my colleagues to hold this president accountable for his misdeeds and do what is best for Oregonians and the American people."
Bonamici, a Beaverton Democrat representing the state's First Congressional District, has served in the U.S. House since 2012. She called for impeachment proceedings in early May. "As a separate and equal branch of government, Congress has been working to uncover the President's wrongdoings," Bonamici said. "At every turn, the president has brazenly obstructed our inquiry, even defying subpoenas."
Bonamici said asking a foreign leader to investigate his political rivals was an abuse of his presidential authority and put American elections in jeopardy. "He did this not to help the United States, but to benefit himself," Bonamici said. "That's wrong, and it is an impeachable offense. In our country, no one is above the law. That includes the President of the United States.
Walden said the impeachment votes were just more "partisan tools" against a president who had been elected to "shake things up."
"The anti-Trump crowd has weaponized impeachment and converted it into a partisan tool," Walden wrote in a statement before the impeachment vote, "something one of America's founding fathers — Alexander Hamilton — warned against. The American people elected President Trump to shake things up in Washington, D.C. And that's precisely what he's done … President Trump is doing exactly what he promised, and that includes violating the political norms of the Washington, D.C. swamp. And for that, the left wants to send him packing."
Oregon Democrat Rep. Peter DeFazio said while he supported impeaching the president, he said the impeachment was a "dark day for both our country and our representative democracy."
"Impeachment is the most serious responsibility granted to Congress by our Constitution," he said. "This vote is not something I take lightly, but the case is clear-cut: President Trump has violated his oath of office and betrayed the Constitution and the American people."
Rep. Kurt Schrader said reading the transcript of the July call with Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky convinced him to vote in favor of impeachment. "After reading the transcript of President Trump's July 25th conversation with the Ukrainian president where he asks for a political favor that would lead to foreign influence in our election and listening to career and political appointees of the President himself express concern that a President of the United States would act in such a manner, I voted in favor of impeachment," Schrader said. "These actions are illegal and pose serious risk to our democratic form of government."
Another Oregon House Democrat, Rep. Earl Blumenauer also voted in favor of impeachment but called for a delay in sending articles of impeachment to the U.S. Senate. The Washington Post reported that Blumenauer said he had discussed the delay with the other Democrats on Wednesday as a way of ''rounding out the record and spending the time to do this right.''
''At a minimum, there ought to be an agreement about access to witnesses, rules of the game, timing,'' the newspaper quoted Blumenauer as saying. The story also said Blumenauer had already raised the issue with House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland and other top Democrats, as well as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
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