Several Democrats defect on impeachment, as GOP holds together in support of Trump

While the votes to impeach President Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress fell mostly along party lines, three Democrats bucked their party on Wednesday evening to vote against impeaching the president on at least one of the articles.

Reps. Jeff Van Drew, D-N.J., and Collin Peterson, D-Minn., voted against both articles of impeachment. Rep. Jared Golden, D-Maine, voted in favor of impeaching Trump on abuse of power, but not on obstruction of Congress.

Another Democrat, presidential candidate and Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, voted “present” on both impeachment resolutions.

The result helped GOP lawmakers make the case that the only bipartisan vote on the floor Wednesday evening was the vote against impeachment — as all Republicans held together in opposition.

“Not a single Republican broke ranks,” GOP Rep. Greg Steube of Florida told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson minutes after the vote.

Rep. Justin Amash, I-Mich., who left the Republican Party earlier this year, voted “yea” on both articles.

All three Democrats who voted against impeaching Trump come from districts that Trump won in the 2016 election and are expected to face difficult reelection campaigns in the swing districts.

Van Drew, who met with Trump last week to reportedly discuss plans to switch to the GOP, was also one of only two Democrats — the other being Peterson — to vote “no” on launching the impeachment inquiry into Trump. The two were also the lone dissenters on an earlier vote Wednesday on the rule to kick off the impeachment debate.

“I’ve always felt this impeachment is going to do a tremendous amount of harm to the country,” Van Drew said. “It’s really going to create more division, more hardship, more hate, more civil unrest.”

Peterson has argued that there was not enough evidence to impeach Trump and, that with almost no chance of the Republican-controlled Senate voting to remove Trump from office, the impeachment will only cause further divisions in the country.

The longtime Democratic congressman, however, brushed off speculation that he would move over to the GOP.

“I’m staying in the party, in spite of some of the stuff that’s going on that I don’t agree with, I am not going [to] switch parties at this stage of my career,” he told KFGO News earlier this week. “There have been overtures by the highest levels of the Republican Party in the last couple weeks to ask if I would consider it and I told them no.”

Democratic leadership in the House also knew ahead of time that Golden would be voting against the article to impeach Trump on obstruction of Congress.

In a lengthy Facebook post, Golden said on Tuesday that while “the House investigation clearly unearthed a pattern of evidence that demonstrates the corrupt intent on the part of the president” and “the president’s resistance toward our investigative efforts has been frustrating,” he does not think it “reached the threshold of ‘high crime or misdemeanor’ that the Constitution demands.”

Despite the defections from the three lawmakers, Democrats still had more than enough votes to impeach Trump on both charges, with the House voting 230-197 on impeaching him for abuse of power and 229-198 on obstruction of Congress.