WASHINGTON -- The House on Wednesday, July 17, voted to kill an impeachment resolution against President Donald Trump, a move likely to rankle the Democratic Party's liberal base clamoring for the ouster of the president.
The vote was 332 to 95 as House Democratic leaders, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., joined with Republicans to stop the measure. It was a surprising turn and created the unusual optic of the Democratic leader working with the GOP a day after a divided House voted to condemn Trump's racist remarks.
Rep. Al Green, D-Texas, had put Democratic leaders in a bind Tuesday night by filing articles of impeachment accusing Trump of committing high crimes and misdemeanors. His resolution, which cited Trump's racist comments singling out four minority congresswomen, was privileged, requiring that the House act within two days.
"It's time for us to deal with his bigotry," Green told reporters Wednesday. "This president has demonstrated that he's willing to yell fire in a crowded theater, and we have seen what can happen to people when bigotry is allowed to have a free rein. We all ought to go on record. We all ought to let the world know where we stand when we have a bigot in the White House."
Pelosi, who has been reluctant to launch an impeachment inquiry, backed a procedural vote to table, or effectively kill, the resolution, avoiding a direct vote on the impeachment articles. Republicans supported Pelosi's effort, receiving the sign-off from the White House, according a Republican congressional aide who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private talks.
"With all the respect in the world for Mr. Green ... we have six committees who are working on following the facts in terms of any abuse of power, obstruction of justice and the rest that the president may have engaged in," Pelosi told reporters when asked about Green's efforts. "That is the serious path that we are on -- not that Mr. Green is not serious, but we will deal with that on the floor."
Any vote is politically fraught for Democrats as the party's liberal base pushes for Trump's impeachment, and several 2020 presidential candidates have urged the House to move swiftly to force him out of office. So far, 86 House Democrats favor launching an impeachment inquiry, though several were reluctant to endorse Green's effort.
Liberal groups pressured Pelosi to allow a direct vote on the impeachment articles. CREDO Action, a group that says it has 5 million activists, said in a statement that the House needed to begin proceedings "immediately" because "Trump is a racist who has repeatedly abused the powers of the presidency to harm black and brown communities and to make a quick buck for billionaires off the backs of working families."
The vote split Democrats, with 137 voting to effectively kill the resolution and 95 opposing the move.
Rather than tabling the resolution, several House Judiciary Committee Democrats tried to convince Pelosi and other leaders to refer the articles of impeachment to their panel. Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., a private supporter of impeachment, argued that that is how such matters are historically handled, but he was rebuffed, according to congressional officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal talks.
"If you are of conscience and see what is happening . . . one would have to vote to refer, and not to table," said Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, a Judiciary Committee member.
This article was written by Rachael Bade and Mike DeBonis, reporters for The Washington Post.