MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The U.S. House of Representatives has voted to approve the rules for its impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. The vote was 232 in favor and 196 against.
It was mostly along party lines, with all the yes votes coming from Democrats. However, Rep. Collin Peterson was one of only two Democrats who voted against the measure.
“This impeachment process continues to be hopelessly partisan,” Peterson said, in a statement.
Peterson has represented Minnesota’s sprawling 7th congressional district in western and northern Minnesota since 1991. Its a district were, in 2016, Donald Trump crushed Hillary Clinton by 30 points. Peterson beat his Republican opponent by just over 4 percentage points.
“The vote is not actually on articles of impeachment. What it is is to do two things: to make the impeachment inquiry official and to outline the process and rules that will be used in terms of the committee hearings,” Professor David Schultz of Hamline University said.
This means that witnesses offering evidence for and against Trump will testify publicly, not behind closed doors.
The vote was noteworthy for the united front by Republicans. Not one of them broke ranks.
“The Republican base is still strongly with Donald Trump. There is no indication that they are breaking whatsoever,” Schultz said.
Four Minnesota Democratic Representatives — Angie Craig, Ilhan Omar, Betty McCollum and Dean Phillips — voted in favor of taking the impeachment process public. All three Minnesota Republicans — Tom Emmer, Jim Hagedorn and Pete Stauber — voted against doing so.
Most estimates say this next phase of the impeachment process, publicly gathering evidence, will take months. Only then will they vote on impeachment.
Right now, Democrats have the votes in the House for impeachment to succeed.
Then there would be a trial in the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate, where it would take a two-thirds majority to remove the president. That is not anywhere close to happening; the votes right now simply aren’t there.