Democrats push impeachment rules package through House
WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats pushed a package of ground rules for their impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump through a sharply divided House Thursday, the chamber’s first formal vote in a fight that could stretch into the 2020 election year.
The tally was 232-196, with all Republicans who voted opposing the resolution.
Just two Democratic defectors joined them: freshman Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey and 15-term veteran Rep. Collin Peterson of Minnesota, one of his party’s most conservative members. Both represent GOP-leaning districts.
Though the vote was technically over the rules that will govern the process, each side used it to accuse the other of having already decided whether Congress should wrench Trump from office.
Full Coverage: Trump impeachment inquiry
It also underscored how — for now — lawmakers on each side are comfortable with their approaches to next year’s presidential and congressional elections.
Democrats have been buoyed by polls showing growing public sentiment toward investigating and even removing Trump from office, while the same surveys have shown GOP voters standing fast by him.
Thursday’s measure defined the procedures lawmakers will follow as they transition from weeks of closed-door interviews with witnesses to public hearings and ultimately to possible votes on whether to recommend Trump’s impeachment.
The vote, which occurred on Halloween, drew a familiar Twitter retort from Trump: “The greatest Witch Hunt in American History!”