What Washington state's lawmakers said at Wednesday's impeachment vote
The U.S. House of Representatives discussed and ultimately voted in favor of impeaching President Donald Trump Wednesday, making him the only president to be impeached twice.
The effort comes a week after an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6; an incident many cited for the reasoning behind their yes vote.
While Democrats pushed for impeachment, 10 Republican members of Congress broke from their party and joined the effort. Among them were two out of three Washington state's Republican representatives.
Republican Representatives Jaime Herrera Beutler and Dan Newhouse voted in favor of impeachment. Washington's only other Republican member of Congress, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, voted against it.
Washington Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler tweeted her reasoning on Tuesday, blaming the president for the riot at the capitol, referring to rioters as "terrorists."
On the House floor Herrera Beutler said:
"My fellow Americans, I rise today to stand against our enemy. And to clarify our enemy isn't the president or the president elect. Fear is our enemy. Fear tells us what we want to hear. It incites anger and violence and fire, but it also haunts us into silence and inaction.
What are you afraid of? I'm afraid of what people will say and think. I'm afraid of being devalued. I'm not afraid of losing my job, but I am afraid that my country will fail. I'm afraid patriots of this country have died in vain. I'm afraid my children won't grow up in a free country. I'm afraid injustice will prevail. But truth; truth sets us free from fear.
Truth doesn't guarantee bad things won't happen. But it does promise to always prevail, in the end. It has no shadows where darkness can hide. With truth comes love. And we could use that right now. My vote to impeach our sitting president is not a fear-based decision. I am not choosing a side. I'm choosing truth. It's the only way to defeat fear."
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Republican Rep. Dan Newhouse announced he would vote "yes" on the articles of impeachment ahead of the vote.
On the House floor, Newhouse stated:
"Madam Speaker, this is a sad day in our Republic, but not as sad or disheartening as the violence we witnessed in the capitol last Wednesday. We are all responsible. My colleagues are responsible for not condemning rioters this past year, like those who barricaded the doors of the Seattle Police Department and attempted to murder the officers inside.
Others, including myself, are responsible for not speaking out sooner, before the president misinformed and inflamed a violent mob who tore down the American flag and brutally beat Capitol police officers. Madam Speaker, we must all do better. These articles of impeachment are flawed. But I will not use process as an excuse. There's no excuse for President Trump's actions. The president took an oath to defend the constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.
Last week, there was a domestic threat at the door of the capitol. And he did nothing to stop it. That is why with a heavy heart and clear resolve, I will vote 'yes' on these articles of impeachment."
Republican Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Washington state's one other Republican representative, broke from her local colleagues and voted against the impeachment. After voting, she release a statement:
"I analyzed the Article of Impeachment through the lens that has guided my decision-making throughout my time in Congress: the oath I took to support and defend the Constitution. The Article presented before the House centers around whether President Trump’s words directly incited the violence that took place at the U.S. Capitol last week. Based on my assessment of Constitutionally-protected speech, I do not believe his words constitute an incitement of violence as laid out in Supreme Court precedent. Further, impeachment is not something for us to take lightly, and the fact that Speaker Pelosi is rushing this process and has chosen not to hold hearings or extend debate on the questions at hand makes me question her motives as nothing more than politics. The President has mere days left on his term, he has conceded, and the inauguration is next week. Let’s let the peaceful transfer of power take place.”
“Make no mistake: what happened last week at the U.S. Capitol was unlawful and unacceptable. President Trump showed a complete lack of leadership in the face of an attack on the U.S. government. We must do better. Right now, I am also concerned that we have a crisis of contempt in America and it’s leading to the destruction and violence we saw last week and throughout the last year. One of my office’s values is to ‘responsibly own it.’ To take accountability and aim to do better. This great experiment in self-governance is dependent on individual responsibility. For too long, people on the left have chosen to try and silence anyone who disagrees with them and have refused to acknowledge President Trump as duly elected. At the same time, people on the right have excused and defended President Trump, including me, because he stood for free markets and economic growth, led the most pro-life administration in history, defended religious freedom, stood for Israel, and supported the rule of law. For Trump supporters like me, it meant turning a blind eye to arrogant, prideful, and bullying behavior. We all need to take some responsibility, tone down the rhetoric, stop silencing anyone and everyone who might disagree with us, and do better.”
After the vote, Democrat Pramila Jayapal said the president needs to be "removed without delay," and that the Senate "must immediately convict this president for incitement of insurrection and remove him from office."
Other Washington Democrats also weighed in following the vote Wednesday.