Washington: The US House of Representatives voted on Wednesday to sideline an impeachment resolution against President Donald Trump, effectively killing the measure for now but not burying the issue that has divided Democrats.
The resolution’s sponsor, Democratic representative Al Green, was seeking to capitalise on growing criticism of Trump after the president’s recent attacks on minority congresswomen.
The House voted 332 to 95 to set aside the measure.
“Impeachment of your President…., is now OVER. This should never be allowed to happen to another President of the United States again!” Trump tweeted.
….Greatest Economic BOOM in the history of our Country, the best job numbers, biggest tax reduction, rebuilt military and much more, is now OVER. This should never be allowed to happen to another President of the United States again!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 17, 2019
Green had failed twice before to get an impeachment resolution passed, but Wednesday marked the first time the full House had addressed the matter since Democrats took the majority earlier this year.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has long tried to restrain Democrats from initiating the impeachment process against Trump, pending a House Judiciary Committee probe into whether he colluded with Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election and obstructed special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of the matter.
However, Wednesday’s vote put lawmakers on the record on the impeachment question. A clear majority of the House’s 235 Democrats – 137 – voted along with Republicans to table Green’s impeachment resolution. But 95 Democrats opposed setting the measure aside. One Democrat voted present.
While a growing minority of Democrats in the House have called for launching an impeachment inquiry, Democratic leaders made it clear earlier on Wednesday that they did not support Green’s effort, at least not now.
“As I have said over and over again, with all the respect in the world for Mr Green…, we have six committees that are working on following the facts in terms of any abuse of power, obstruction of justice and the rest that the president may have engaged in. That is the serious path that we are on,” Pelosi told reporters.
House majority whip James Clyburn said he did not think lawmakers were ready to debate impeachment, partly because Congress is scheduled to hear from Mueller in testimony next week
“This will be an opportunity for us to all go on the record: either we will move forward with impeachment or we will vote against it,” Green told CNN earlier.
Green made his move a day after the House voted to condemn Trump for making comments against four minority Democratic congresswomen that were widely criticised as racist.
Green said his effort had nothing to do with Mueller’s investigation, but that he was focussing on Trump’s attacks on the congresswomen, which he said demonstrated Trump was unfit to be president.