By Jack Phillips
A longtime Democratic Congressman whose district overwhelmingly voted in favor of President Donald Trump confirmed he will vote against articles of impeachment.ADVERTISING
Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), the chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, told The Globe on Saturday that unless he hears something that changes his mind this week, he will not vote in favor of impeaching Trump, joining Rep. Jeff Van Drew (D-N.J.), who also indicated he will not vote for impeachment. Both Peterson and Van Drew represent districts that Trump carried in 2016, and both joined Republicans and voted against an impeachment inquiry resolution in late October.
What’s more, Peterson said he expects between four and five other Democrats to vote against impeachment.
Peterson told the publication that “unless they come up with something between now and Wednesday,” he will not support the House Democrat-led push. “Maybe something will change. I doubt it,” he said.
Trump “has not committed a crime,” and the case against the president includes only “second-hand” information about President Donald Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Peterson said. He appeared to reference a whistleblower complaint about the July 25 call which had alleged that Trump pressured Zelensky into investigating former Vice President Joe Biden and son Hunter Biden in exchange for military aid, which Trump and Zelensky have both denied.
“They’ve spent a year trying to figure out how they can make a case for it. That’s backward. I just don’t agree with this,” Peterson remarked.
The longtime Democrat, who was first elected in 1991, questioned the strategy of the House Democratic caucus as impeachment is most likely going to be shot down in the Senate.
“This is dividing the country for no good reason because he’s not going to be thrown out of office,” Peterson said. “Why are we doing this?”
“If people don’t like Trump, they can vote against him,” he added to the Globe.
In the interview, Peterson noted that his constituents in his district oppose the United States providing foreign aid to other countries.
Last week, the House Judiciary Committee voted to advance two articles of impeachment against the president: the Obstruction of Congress and abuse of power. The House will reportedly vote on the articles on Wednesday.
Over the weekend, reports said Van Drew met with Trump and is considering switching parties from Democrat to Republican. In response, Trump tweeted it “would be big,” while Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy pilloried the possible switch as “the final straw” and has “made it impossible for him to continue being supported by our party.”