Updated, 8:42 a.m., 1/13/21
As the U.S. House plans to commence impeachment proceedings Wednesday against President Donald Trump for inciting the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, Michigan could have one more House member vote yes than did during his first impeachment in December 2019.
U.S. House Democrats said Monday they have the votes to impeach the president again. There are 222 Democrats in the House and 211 Republicans, with one race still undecided and one vacancy, so Democrats would need 217 votes. The vote is now expected to be bipartisan. The Michigan delegation has 14 members.
U.S. Rep. Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph) announced late Tuesday night that he would vote to impeach, joining all seven Democratic members of Congress from Michigan.
“Today the President characterized his inflammatory rhetoric at last Wednesday’s rally as ‘totally appropriate,”’and he expressed no regrets for last week’s violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. This sends exactly the wrong signal to those of us who support the very core of our democratic principles and took a solemn oath to the Constitution. I would have preferred a bipartisan, formal censure rather than a drawn-out impeachment process. I fear this will now interfere with important legislative business and a new Biden Administration. But it is time to say: Enough is enough,” Upton said in a statement.
“The Congress must hold President Trump to account and send a clear message that our country cannot and will not tolerate any effort by any President to impede the peaceful transfer of power from one President to the next. Thus, I will vote to impeach.”
Upton voted against impeaching Trump 13 months ago for threatening to withhold aid from Ukraine unless it assembled dirt on now-President-elect Joe Biden.
His announcement came after media reports that U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) — who orchestrated a quick acquittal for Trump a year ago in the upper chamber — was open to convicting Trump this time around and even leaning toward it. There are reports of 20 Republican votes in the U.S. Senate, which would be enough for removal. Major corporate donors have been suspending their donations to the GOP following the insurrection, adding considerable pressure on the party.
Freshman U.S. Rep. Peter Meijer (R-Grand Rapids) also said Monday that he is “strongly considering” impeachment, adding, “I think what we saw on Wednesday left the president unfit for office.” Meijer has not held back his criticism of Republicans who have supported those who ransacked the Capitol and assaulted police. Five people have died, including one police officer.
“This should be a moment of reckoning for the conservative movement. If the Republican party ever hopes to regain the public’s trust and lead the country forward after this heinous assault, it must first be honest with itself,” Meijer wrote in an op-ed for the Detroit News last week.
On Tuesday, Meijer told Fox News Business that those who vote for impeachment could face assassination attempts.
“Our assumption, especially those of us who went in knowing we were going to vote to certify the election, knowing that was going to draw their ire, and especially those who are, you know, going to vote our conscience tomorrow on impeachment … there’s an assumption that people will try to kill us,” he said.
Meijer’s predecessor, U.S. Rep. Justin Amash (L-Cascade Twp.), left the GOP in July 2019 over his support for Trump’s first impeachment. He voted in support in December 2019, but ultimately decided not to run for reelection.
U.S. Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.) was the first Republican to announce his support for impeachment this week. He was followed by U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), the No. 3 Republican in the House, U.S. Rep.
Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.) and U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.). Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) remains opposed.
The seven Michigan Democrats who have said they back impeachment also voted yes in December 2019: U.S. Reps. Debbie Dingell (D-Dearborn), Dan Kildee (D-Flint), Brenda Lawrence (D-Southfield), Andy Levin (D-Bloomfield Twp.), Haley Stevens (D-Rochester Hills), Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit) and Elissa Slotkin (D-Holly).
The impeachment measure accuses Trump of making statements that “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.’”
The measure also cites Trump’s phone call directing Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” votes to overturn Biden’s win in the state.
“In all this, President Trump gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of government,” the measure reads. “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.”