House kills vote on Trump impeachment resolution over 'racist' tweets

One House Democrat was forcing the chamber to take up impeachment.

July 17, 2019, 7:07 PM

The House has voted to table Rep. Al Green's impeachment resolution, with a majority of Democrats voting with Republicans to kill the impeachment push, which was based on President Donald Trump’s attacks against four Democratic congresswomen.

The vote was 332-95, with 137 Democrats siding with 194 Republicans and independent Rep. Justin Amash, to end consideration of impeachment. One Democrat, Rep. Peter DeFazio of Oregon, voted present.

There were 95 Democrats who voted against the move to table the measure. Notable progressives, including Chairmen Jerry Nadler of the Judiciary Committee and Jim McGovern of the Rules Committee, voted “no” against the effort, along with members of the Congressional Black Caucus and Hispanic Caucus, some of the strongest voices for impeachment in Congress.

A large group of moderates, centrists and freshmen voted with Republicans, putting the divisive topic of impeachment on ice - for the time being.

Shortly after the resolution failed, Trump called it "the most ridiculous project I've ever been involved in."

"That's the end of it," he told reporters in North Carolina before a campaign rally. "Let the Democrats now go back to work."

This would have been the first time the chamber will take up the divisive topic under Democratic control.

Green, D-Texas, forced consideration of the measure after introducing articles of impeachment Tuesday evening in the form of a privileged resolution, requiring the House to take up the measure within two legislative days.

Democratic leaders opposed the effort, and aides said it was unclear how the chamber would consider the resolution. Under House rules, the House could have taken up impeachment, moved to table consideration or referred it to the House Judiciary Committee.

"If I had my druthers, I suspect we're not ready to debate that," House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., said earlier on Wednesday.

"I say with all the respect in the world for (Green), we have six committees that 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," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said hours before the vote to table. "That is a serious path that we are on. Not that Mr. Green is not serious, but we'll deal with that on the floor."

Green has pushed to impeach Trump since 2017, and forced several votes on impeachment in the last session of Congress. On Tuesday, he took to the floor to introduce the measure, which cites Trump's attacks against four Democratic congresswomen of color. The House voted to condemn the president's Twitter attacks congresswomen of color on Tuesday, with four Republicans voting alongside Democrats.

Green said on Wednesday that the condemnation did not go far enough.

"If you did what the president has done, you would be punished. What we've done so far doesn't fine him, and it does not remove him from his job. You would lose your jobs. The president cannot be above the law," he said.

Trump told reporters at the White House earlier Wednesday that he was "enjoying" his political fight with Democrats over his tweets and praised Republicans for standing with him during a vote in the House on Tuesday that condemned his attacks on the congresswomen.

Asked if he relished the back and forth, he said he was "not relishing the fight -- I'm enjoying it. Because I have to get the word out to the American people, and you have to enjoy what you do. I enjoy what I do."

The president dug in on his suggestion on Twitter Sunday that the congresswomen of color should "go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came."

"If people want to leave our country they can," Trump said, before departing for a campaign rally in North Carolina. "If they don’t want to love our country, if they don’t want to fight for our country, they can. I’ll never change on that."

Trump said he thought he was winning the political fight with Democrats "by a lot," because, he said, the congresswomen he attacked "are not espousing the views our country."

Nearly 60 Democrats backed an earlier version of Green's measure in December 2017, which was successfully killed by Republican leaders at the time.

PHOTO: President Donald Trump speaks to the media, July 12, 2019, at the White House in Washington, DC.
President Donald Trump speaks to the media, July 12, 2019, at the White House in Washington, DC.
Alastair Pike/AFP/Getty Images

But with the House now in Democrats' hands, the subject is one that party leaders have been reluctant to take up, and have instead called for the continued investigation of the president and the Trump administration.

Democrats harbor political concerns about the vote -- dozens of moderate freshmen would rather discuss the party's agenda than take up impeachment before they return home for the six-week August recess. And while at least 86 House Democrats support launching impeachment proceedings against Trump, according to an ABC News analysis, some said they considered Green's effort premature ahead of special counsel Robert Mueller's testimony next week.

Green's impeachment resolution made no mention of the findings of the Mueller report and the administration's refusal to comply with congressional subpoenas for documents and testimony, which Democrats have labored to highlight in a series of hearings and additional investigations.

"I think there are legitimate reasons to favor impeachment, but I think we need to hear from the man that wrote the report," Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., said on Wednesday.

A former high school history teacher, Clyburn suggested the House might not have to impeach as a result of Democrats' investigative work, pointing to the high-profile witnesses whose testimony eventually forced President Richard Nixon to resign during Watergate.

"It was John Dean’s testimony, Alexander Butterfield’s testimony," he said. "We never got to the point of impeaching Nixon, we didn’t need to because we did good investigative work."

Green said postponing consideration of impeachment until after Mueller's testimony would be "justice delayed."

"I will do this even if I am the only person who is involved in the process," he said. "There are some times on some issues where it's better to stand alone than not stand at all."

ABC News' Katherine Faulders and Ben Gittleson from the White House contributed to this report.

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