FL Dems vote yes on Trump impeachment resolution in U.S. House; FL Republicans say no

U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) speaks during an event with activist groups to deliver over ten million petition signatures to Congress urging the U.S. House of Representatives to start impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump. Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images.

Florida’s congressional Democrats voted Thursday in favor of pursuing the impeachment of President Donald Trump – while the state’s Republicans sided with the president.

The final vote went 232 in favor of the impeachment resolution and 196 against. Four members abstained, including one Democrat. Two Democrats voted against the impeachment resolution.

That document directs the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the committees on Financial Services, Foreign Affairs, the Judiciary, Oversight and Reform, and Ways and Means, “to continue their ongoing investigations as part of the existing House of Representatives inquiry into whether sufficient grounds exist for the House of Representatives to exercise its constitutional power to impeach Donald John Trump, President of the United States of America.

The resolution also established the procedures that will guide the process.

Florida Democratic Party chair Terrie Rizzo issued a written statement praising the development.

“Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats have conducted this investigation with the highest standards for the rule of law. Meanwhile, Donald Trump and his Republican acolytes have conducted an obstruction and contempt for justice campaign. From barging into secure briefings, hiding behind executive privilege, to disregarding subpoenas, Trump and Republicans have proven why this impeachment investigation is needed,” she said.

“The more we have learned about Trump’s actions, the more it confirms that he has committed acts that are worthy of being impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives. Today’s vote was an important step in getting to the truth and holding Trump and his Republican allies accountable,” Rizzo said.

Florida’s Democratic House members are Al Lawson, Stephanie Murphy, Darren Soto, Val Demings, Charlie Crist, Kathy Castor, Alcee L. Hastings, Lois Frankel, Ted Deutch, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Federica Wilson, Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, Donna E. Shalala.

The state’s Republicans are Matt Gaetz, Neal Dunn, Ted Yoho, John Rutherford, Michael Waltz, Bill Posey, Daniel Webster, Gus M. Bilirakis, Ross Spano, Vern Buchanan, Gregory Steube, Brian Mast, Francis Rooney, Mario Diaz-Balart.

Democrats hailed the resolution as a roadmap that will provide for a fair and transparent process, while Republicans supportive of the president assailed the effort as a political attack.

Update: “What is at stake in all of this is nothing less than our democracy,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said ahead of the vote. “Sadly, this is not any cause for any glee or comfort. This is something that is very solemn.”

House Democratic leadership had previously announced a formal inquiry, but held a floor vote in part to combat complaints from Republicans that the full chamber hadn’t been allowed to vote. Still, Thursday’s vote is unlikely to reduce the partisan fighting over the process.

Trump wrote on Twitter Thursday morning, “The Impeachment Hoax is hurting our Stock Market. The Do Nothing Democrats don’t care!” He added later, “The Greatest Witch Hunt In American History!”

Congressman Hastings argued, “It’s time for the American people to see how the administration put our national security on the auction block in exchange for political favors.”

Shalala served in the Clinton administration during President Bill Clinton’s impeachment. “Supporting this continuing inquiry is not a decision that any of us makes lightly,” she said. “It’s with profound sadness and disappointment that we have to continue this investigation. The accusations the House is investigating go straight to the heart of our Constitution.”

Castor issued a written statement arguing that the resolution provides a fair framework for investigating alleged abuses of power by the president.

“Affirming the impeachment inquiry will eliminate any doubt as to whether the Trump administration may withhold documents, prevent witness testimony, disregard duly authorized subpoenas, or continue obstructing the House of Representatives. Trump administration officials are doing the right thing by coming forward – and Trump is wrong to try to cover up and obstruct the investigation by blocking witnesses from appearing and smearing the character of dedicated public servants,” Castor said.

“The American people deserve to understand the depth and breadth of Trump’s ethical and criminal violations, so the House will continue working to uphold the rule of law by proceeding deliberately and following the facts wherever they may lead.”

Robin Bravender in Washington contributed to this story. She is bureau chief there for The Newsroom, a network of state-based news organizations that includes the Florida Phoenix.