DENVER – Colorado’s U.S. Congress members voted on party lines Wednesday to impeach President Trump for the second time – this time for a lone article of “incitement of insurrection” after his supporters rioted and overran the U.S. Capitol last week.
While all three of Colorado’s Republicans voted against impeaching Trump, 10 Republicans from other states did cross party lines and voted for impeachment. The article of impeachment passed the House 232-197.
The lone article of impeachment now heads to the Senate for a trial when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi decides to transmit it over, but the Senate is in recess until Jan. 19.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on Tuesday named Colorado’s Democratic Reps. Diana DeGette and Joe Neguse as among the nine impeachment managers who will present the House’s case in a Senate trial.
“No one is above the law in this country, not even the president. I am honored that Speaker Pelosi has asked me to help defend our Democracy by presenting our case against President Trump in the Senate. I can think of no greater responsibility than that of defending our Constitution by holding President Trump fully accountable for inciting an insurrection against our government,” DeGette said in a statement after the vote.
Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-Colo., said this past week was one of the “most solemn” of his career in Congress after the attack and said it was what led him to vote for Trump’s impeachment a second time.
“Even with only seven days left of the Trump presidency, we must always ensure our President will preserve, protect and defend the U.S. Constitution, as is required of the oath of office. President Trump has shown he will not and cannot be trusted to uphold his oath. He has damaged the Constitution and damaged America,” Perlmutter said. “Each and every one of us has a responsibility to reduce the continued threats of violence on fellow Americans and ensure the government can transition peacefully. Thus, I solemnly vote once again to impeach Donald Trump.”
Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., claimed Democrats were virtue signaling with the impeachment after she argued Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning about metal detectors brought in after last week’s riot. She has also caused a stir on Capitol Hill about her insistence she bring her handgun to work with her.
“I voted against today’s article of impeachment and yesterday’s 25th Amendment coup, because these impeachment attempts were not exercised appropriately and because more partisan charades are not what our country needs right now,” Boebert said. “Rather than supporting these made-for-tv exercises, I urged the House to focus on reopening our economy and supporting America’s small businesses and working families.”
Ahead of the vote Wednesday afternoon, several of Colorado’s members of the House spoke on the floor during the debate over impeachment – pledging why they either supported or opposed impeaching Trump again.
Neguse said he was voting for impeachment because of Trump’s encouragement of the riot last week, which left five people dead, including a police officer, and said that his actions “cannot go unanswered by this body.”
“If Congress does not act, if we shrink from our constitutional responsibilities to defend our Republic, it will undoubtedly undermine the vision of America as the last, best hope of earth, as Abraham Lincoln so eloquently said so many years ago,” Neguse said. “So, to the millions of Americans watching today, I hope you understand that we are proceeding on this path out of love for our country.”
DeGette recounted during her speech hiding in the House gallery, hearing gunshots in the Speaker’s Office and hearing the rioters banging on the chamber doors a week earlier and also blamed rioters’ actions on President Trump’s incitement.
“It’s clear the president learned nothing in the last year,” she said. “Yesterday, the president said again he did nothing wrong. This man is dangerous. He has defied the constitution. He has incited sedition and he must be removed. We all took a pledge on Jan. 3 to uphold the constitution. We must honor that oath.”
Rep. Jason Crow, D-Colo., criticized Republicans who were not voting for impeachment in a tweet. He asked Republicans in a speech on the floor to vote with courage and impeach the president.
“Last week I stood in that gallery to defend this chamber against the violent mob called here by Donald Trump. I have dedicated my life to the defense of our nation, and Donald Trump is a risk to all that I love,” Crow said. “Some of my Republican colleagues are afraid of the consequences of an impeachment vote. But this Congress sends our young men and women to war every day. I’m not asking you to storm the beaches of Normandy, but only show a fraction of the courage we ask of our troops every day. Leadership is hard. It’s time to impeach.”
In the words of Thomas Paine, “These are the times that try men’s souls.”— Rep. Jason Crow (@RepJasonCrow) January 13, 2021
Yes, leadership is hard. But we must always do what’s necessary to protect the American people.
It’s time to impeach. pic.twitter.com/UVGF1vOVow
Perlmutter did not speak on the floor prior to Wednesday’s vote but called what happened last week “a nightmare” during a House Rules Committee meeting Tuesday and said he would support impeachment. Perlmutter said Trump had “damaged America” and said that the riot from Wednesday was one of the only things that could have led him to support such a drastic move.
Colorado’s Republican members all spoke out either on the floor or in statements Wednesday against impeaching Trump, and they worked to compare the previous impeachment to the current one. They also continued to call for “unity” despite some of those same members objecting to the electoral vote certification and publicly rejecting Joe Biden’s legal election.
Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., used his floor time to explain why he felt that the latest impeachment inquiry was comparable to the first and blamed Democrats for getting the country to this point.
“I’ve heard that President Trump radicalized the group that – the rioters who stormed this Capitol,” Buck said. “And I’d say that we need to look no further than ourselves to find out what happened and to look at history. Americans were frustrated when they learned that they FBI was investigating the Trump campaign.”
Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., also said on the floor that Democrats were hypocritical and falsely compared the violence from the rioters last week to last summer’s Black Lives Matter protests.
“Where’s the accountability for the left after encouraging and normalizing violence? Rather than actually helping American people in this time, we start impeachments that further divide the country,” she said.
Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., called the impeachment vote “a travesty” in a statement and claimed that Trump “did not incite this violence,” claiming that Trump “called for individuals to peacefully and patriotically make their voices heard,” though that was only part of his speech on Jan. 6. He also repeatedly urged his supporters to “fight” and called Congress’ effort to certify Biden as the winner of the election an “egregious assault on our democracy."
“I hope we can move forward together in unity, but the Democrats’ impeachment is an obstacle to that effort. I will not vote to impeach the President,” Lamborn said.
Once Pelosi transmits the article to the Senate, there remain questions about whether it is constitutional to remove a president after he is out of office.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Wednesday he would not bring the Senate back early and would delay a trial until after the Jan. 20 Inauguration Day.
The trial would likely still move forward but there are still constitutional questions about whether the Senate could convict Trump after he is out of office so that he could never hold public office again.
Biden will be sworn in on Jan. 20, and Georgia’s two new Democratic senators could be sworn in any time after Georgia certifies its statewide election results. The state has until Jan. 22 to do so, and the senators can be sworn in once the results are certified to give Democrats a tie in the Senate that can be broken in their favor by new Vice President Kamala Harris.
Both of Colorado's U.S. senators — Democrats Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper — have said they supported impeachment.
Bennet reiterated after Wednesday’s vote that he believed the Senate should vote to convict.
“Today’s bipartisan vote in the House is an important step toward defending our Constitution and reaffirming the rule of law. The President’s incitement of a riot against the U.S. Capitol was an egregious abuse of power. We must confront this type of political violence to prevent further lawlessness and to preserve our democracy,” Bennet said in a statement. “We are a nation of laws, and not of men. The House has done its job. Now the Senate must vote to convict.”
Hickenlooper said Wednesday evening he still felt Trump should have resigned.
“Today’s bipartisan vote in the House of Representatives was a testament to the sacred responsibility of the legislative branch to provide a critical check on grave and dangerous abuses of the executive,” he said in a statement. “No person is above the law, and it is clear to me that the President committed impeachable offenses, violated his oath of office, and needs to be held accountable for inciting a violent and deadly assault on the symbolic heart of our government.”