As expected, U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis joined House Republicans on Wednesday in voting against the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.
The first article, which charges Trump with abuse of power, was approved largely along a party line vote, 230-197-1. The second article on obstructing Congress passed 229-198-1.
No Republicans voted for either article, although Michigan Rep. Justin Amash, who left the GOP earlier this year to become an independent because he supported impeachment, also voted for both articles.
Davis, a Taylorville Republican who has supported Trump throughout the impeachment inquiry, called impeachment the second-most serious decision Congress can make, behind declarations of war.
“And I have seen nothing, nothing in the witnesses or the evidence that has been put forth, that would generate a criminal charge, number one, and secondly, that would rise to the level of a constitutional authority of impeachment for a high crime or misdemeanor,” Davis said.
Davis said he had planned to speak on the House floor Wednesday, but that the schedule favored lawmakers serving on committees with jurisdiction over the impeachment issue.
Davis represents the 13th Congressional District, which includes parts of Bloomington-Normal, Springfield, Champaign-Urbana, and Decatur. The 13th District, which Trump won in 2016 by 5 percentage points, is a top Democratic target in 2020.
Serious times require thoughtful leadership independent of partisan politics. The testimony from military and foreign policy experts in the Trump Administration has clearly shown serious wrongdoing by the President. (1/5)— Betsy Dirksen Londrigan (@BetsyforIL) December 17, 2019
One of Davis’ Democratic challengers in 2020, Betsy Dirksen Londrigan, was unavailable for an interview Wednesday. In a statement, Londrigan said she supported the impeachment.
“Serious times require thoughtful leadership independent of partisan politics. The testimony from military and foreign policy experts in the Trump Administration has clearly shown serious wrongdoing by the President. Americans have the right to expect our President to hold our nation's interests above his personal political gain. Congressman Davis' suggestion that President Trump did nothing wrong shows he's willfully ignoring the facts and putting partisanship above protecting our democratic values. Whether it's voting against protecting our democracy or voting against lowering the cost of prescription drugs, Congressman Davis has shown once again that he answers to big money and party politics, not people in Central Illinois. I support and believe all members of Congress, who have sworn an oath to uphold our Constitution, should support these Articles of Impeachment to protect our democracy.”
The other Democrat in the 13th District race is Stefanie Smith of Urbana.
“This goes so far beyond impeachment for me,” Smith said in a statement. “I would vote yes, but understand that impeachment in no way improves the material circumstances of our lives and does not address the underlying issues that allow abusers to occupy positions of such great power. This is largely symbolic, as the Senate is unlikely to act appropriately. Impeachment isn’t the goal, it is merely a mile marker on the path as we dismantle systems of oppression.”
Trump is just the third president in American history to be impeached. The Constitution now calls for a trial in the Senate over which John Roberts, the chief justice of the United States, must preside.