U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-MI, will vote to impeach President Donald Trump in the Wednesday motion, becoming one of the few Republican House members to pledge to do so. Upton voted no on Congress’ first impeachment of Trump when it was brought to a vote in Dec. 2019.
In a statement Tuesday evening, Upton announced he would vote to impeach, in part because the president did not express regret for the recent violence at the Capitol. Upton said he was initially concerned the impeachment proceedings could interfere with President-elect Joe Biden’s transition to office, but he ultimately decided Trump must be held accountable for sending “exactly the wrong signal to those of us who support … our democratic principles.”
“The Congress must hold President Trump to account and send a clear message that our country cannot and will not tolerate any effort by any President to impede the peaceful transfer of power from one President to the next,” Upton wrote. “Thus, I will vote to impeach.”
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., introduced articles of impeachment against Trump Monday, following the attempted insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6. The article of impeachment, which charges Trump for “inciting violence against the government of the United States,” also says “President Trump’s conduct on January 6, 2021, followed his prior efforts to subvert and obstruct the certification of the results of the 2020 Presidential election.”
Following Biden’s win in the November general election, members of the Trump campaign filed numerous lawsuits in various swing states hoping to overturn the election. These lawsuits — such as those filed in Michigan in hopes of discarding over one million votes in Washtenaw, Wayne and Ingham counties — have all been withdrawn or overturned.
It is unclear exactly who will vote against the president, though at least three Republican lawmakers in addition to Upton have officially announced they will vote to impeach, including U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., who holds the third-highest position in Republican House leadership, U.S. Rep. John Katko, R-N.Y., and U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill.
Most House Republicans are opposed to the motion, including U.S. Reps. Bill Huizenga, R-MI, and Tim Walberg, R-MI. Republican leadership is reportedly calling the impeachment a “vote of conscience” and will not lobby their members to vote with the President.
In a recent Facebook post, Huizenga wrote that the riot at the Capitol was “unacceptable” but disagreed with the impeachment proceedings.
“It’s hard for me to see how impeachment will do anything but further divide our nation,” Huizenga wrote.
U.S. Rep. Peter Meijer, R-MI, said Monday he is “strongly considering” impeachment, but says there are “timelines, other considerations, and additional information” he needed to consider before making an official decision. Meijer announced Wednesday he would vote to impeach Trump.
Some Democratic lawmakers have echoed these concerns, expressing worry that impeachment will overshadow the beginning of Biden’s term. The majority, however, support the decision to hold a vote, citing their desire for Trump to be held accountable and to have lawmakers’ rejection of his actions on record.
U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-MI, said in a press release Friday that Republicans in Congress have a “responsibility to this country to make sure there is no further damage to this democracy,” but did not specifically declare her stance on impeachment.
Upton has continuously touted the importance of bipartisanship, including at Ford School of Public Policy events with Dingell.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Tuesday he supports the article of impeachment against Trump and believes it will help clear Trump’s name from the Republican Party, according to a CNN source with knowledge of the matter. McConnell has not yet made a decision on whether he will vote to convict Trump. When Trump was first impeached in 2019, the Senate did not ultimately vote to convict him.
Pelosi previously said Vice President Mike Pence should invoke the 25th Amendment declaring the President unfit for office and assuming the presidency until Biden is inaugurated on Jan. 20.
For this to be official, Pence would need a majority of cabinet secretaries to agree. This is unlikely, especially following the resignation of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. As of Tuesday afternoon, Pence said he would not be taking this step.
Trump condemned the upcoming impeachment vote to reporters on Tuesday before leaving Washington, D.C. to speak at a Texas rally, calling it a “continuation of the greatest witch hunt in the history of politics” and saying the decision was “causing tremendous anger.” This was one of the first public statements from Trump since the Jan. 6 insurrection, as the president’s Twitter, Instagram and Facebook accounts were all suspended shortly after.
This story has been updated to include an additional statement from Rep. Peter Meijer, R-MI.
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