Iowans in Congress comment on Trump's second impeachment

Iowa’s delegation split along party lines as the U.S. House voted 232 to 197 on January 13 to impeach President Donald Trump on one count of “incitement to insurrection.”

Ten Republicans, including the third-ranking member of the GOP caucus, joined every Democrat in voting to impeach. I’ve enclosed below the lengthy House Judiciary Committee report supporting impeachment and the full text of the article, which argued that Trump “gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of Government,” “threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power, and imperiled a coequal branch of Government.”

Iowa’s Representative Cindy Axne (IA-03) said in a written statement,

“One week ago, the dangerous and deceitful rhetoric disseminated by President Trump incited an insurrection that led to the deaths of five Americans – including one Capitol Police officer.

This violent attack on our democracy was no accident. For months, the President had used the power and pulpit of his office to spread lies about the legitimacy and security of our elections. And then, in a desperate attempt to overturn his own loss, he pressed his supporters to impede the certification of his own election.

The President’s actions – the deliberate repetition of falsehoods and calls to ignore a democratic election – must have consequences. Incitement of an insurrection is a high crime against the United States, and the Constitutional consequence for such an act is impeachment. Therefore, I will vote to impeach President Donald Trump today.

Regardless of the remaining time in the President’s term, his crime is too great for us to ignore. For the safety of our nation and its citizens, President Trump must be removed from office.”

All three Republicans from Iowa opposed impeaching Trump, but only Representative Ashley Hinson (IA-01) mildly criticized Trump’s behavior in her written statement.

“The violence in the Capitol last week was unacceptable and those involved should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. As more details emerge about the attack, I am increasingly grateful to the heroic Capitol Police officers who kept us safe–and am devastated they lost some of their own in the name of protecting us.

“I believe the President bears responsibility and that is why I urged him personally to call off those who were violently storming the Capitol last week. I wish he had spoken up sooner, but he did not. Words matter; there must be accountability for those who feed into dangerous rhetoric on either side of the ideological spectrum.

“However, impeachment is the wrong path forward for several reasons. Speaker Pelosi is bypassing regular order – including the process of collecting evidence, conducting committee hearings, and having preliminary votes – to rush toward a second impeachment of President Trump. Just a week out from a new Administration, impeachment will only serve to feed the flames and further divide our nation.

“Next week, there will be a peaceful transition of power to the Biden Administration, and we must re-focus on moving this country forward and solving the everyday problems facing Americans. Amid the chaos, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to present real challenges to working people and businesses – Iowans are still trying to put food on the table, handle homeschooling, and struggling to pay their bills.

“I remain focused on solving these problems. This week, my team and I continued to have productive conversations with the Biden Transition Team on ways we can work together for Iowans. I also spoke with Secretary-Designate Vilsack about key agriculture priorities I aim to work with him on and I hope he is confirmed by the Senate.

“While last week was one of the darkest days in our nation’s history, I am committed to unifying our country and serving Iowans because I know there will be brighter days ahead.”

Representative Mariannette Miller-Meeks (IA-02) has not issued a news release on today’s vote but tweeted on January 11, “The people of Iowa sent me to Congress to work on health care reform, lower the cost of prescription drugs, help end this pandemic, and get Iowans safely back to work. That will remain my focus.”

Her deputy chief of staff told Cedar Rapids reporter Nick Weig this week, “With President Trump’s public concession and commitment to an orderly transition of power, Representative Miller-Meeks believes that impeaching the president with only a few days left in his term would only further divide the American people and make it harder for President-Elect Joe Biden to unite the country.”

Representative Randy Feenstra (IA-04) said in a January 13 news release,

I will be voting no on impeachment. President Trump, who has committed to a peaceful transition of power, only has seven days left in his term. It is time for our country to come together and move forward–not to pursue divisive and rushed political exercises.

It has been a challenging year, but we must not forget that we are one Nation, under God–and I’m confident that together, we can work towards a brighter future. I was elected by the great people of Iowa’s 4th District to deliver results, and with their input and feedback, that’s exactly what I plan to do as we move forward and focus on conducting the business of our country.

Advocates for impeachment have noted that if convicted by the U.S. Senate, Trump would be ineligible to hold office in the future. The president has said he may run again in 2024.

Staff for Hinson, Miller-Meeks, and Feenstra did not respond to Bleeding Heartland’s inquiries about whether they would consider passing a resolution to censure Trump. (I will update this post as needed.) Some Republicans have floated censure as an alternative to impeachment, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who said on the House floor January 13, “The president bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on congress by mob violence.”

All the Republicans in Iowa’s Congressional delegation voted to certify Joe Biden’s electoral college win on January 6, but all have lent support to false claims of widespread “irregularities” or “illegal votes” cast in some states Biden carried.

The U.S. Senate will not consider the article of impeachment before Biden’s inauguration, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell confirmed this week. Democrats will control the upper chamber after two newly-elected senators from Georgia are sworn in and Kamala Harris is able to cast the tie-breaking vote as vice president.

Although some Senate Republicans are reportedly open to convicting Trump, it’s extremely unlikely Iowa’s Senators Chuck Grassley or Joni Ernst would be among them. Neither senator’s office responded substantively when queried by CBS News this week.
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Appendix: Full text of article of impeachment, approved by the U.S. House on January 13

Resolution impeaching Donald John Trump, President of the United States, for high crimes and misdemeanors.

Resolved, that Donald John Trump, President of the United States, is impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors and that the following article of impeachment be exhibited to the United States Senate:

Article of impeachment exhibited by the House of Representatives of the United States of America in the name of itself and of the people of the United States of America, against Donald John Trump, President of the United States of America, in maintenance and support of its impeachment against him for high crimes and misdemeanors.

ARTICLE 1: INCITEMENT OF INSURRECTION

The Constitution provides that the House of Representatives “shall have the sole Power of Impeachment” and that the President “shall be removed from Office on Impeachment, for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” Further, section 3 of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution prohibits any person who has “engaged in insurrection or rebellion against” the United States from “hold[ing] and office … under the United States.’ In his conduct while President of the United States — and in violation of his constitutional oath faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, provide, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed — Donald John Trump engaged in high Crimes and Misdemeanors by inciting violence against the Government of the United States, in that:

On January 6, 2021, pursuant to the 12th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, the Vice President of the United States, the House of Representatives, and the Senate met at the United States Capitol for a Joint Session of Congress to count the votes of the Electoral College. In the months preceding the Joint Session, President Trump repeatedly issued false statements asserting that the Presidential election results were the product of widespread fraud and should not be accepted by the American people or certified by State or Federal officials. Shortly before the Joint Session commenced, President Trump, addressed a crowd at the Ellipse in Washington, D.C. There, he reiterated false claims that “we won this election, and we won it by a landslide.” He also willfully made statements that, in context, encouraged — and foreseeably resulted in — lawless action at the Capitol, such as: “if you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore.” Thus incited by President Trump, members of the crowd he had addressed, in an attempt to, among other objectives, interfere with the Joint Session’s solemn constitutional duty to certify the results of the 2020 Presidential election, unlawfully breached and vandalized the Capitol, injured and killed law enforcement personnel, menaced Members of Congress, the Vice President, and Congressional personnel, and engaged in other violent, deadly, destructive and seditious acts.

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. Those prior efforts included a phone call on January 2, 2021, during which President Trump urged the secretary of state of Georgia, Brad Raffensperger, to “find” enough votes to overturn the Georgia Presidential election results and threatened Secretary Raffensperger if he failed to do so.

In all this, President Trump gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of Government. He threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power, and imperiled a coequal branch of Government. He thereby betrayed his trust as President, to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.

Wherefore, Donald John Trump, by such conduct, has demonstrated that he will remain a threat to national security, democracy, and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office, and has acted in a manner grossly incompatible with self-governance and the rule of law. Donald John Trump thus warrants impeachment and trial, removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States.

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