Freshman Democratic Rep. Jeff Van Drew, an impeachment skeptic all year, said he remains opposed to impeaching President Donald Trump unless new evidence emerges.
The South Jersey lawmaker said that should the Democratic-led House vote to impeach Trump — effectively charge him with offenses, which seems all but certain — the Republican-controlled Senate will refuse to oust him from office. That would let Trump claim vindication and result in “tearing the country apart,” Van Drew said.
His district - which includes Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester and Ocean counties - narrowly favored Trump in 2016.
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Also keeping his distance was Rep. Max Rose, D-N.Y., another freshman whose Staten Island-centered district backed Trump in 2016 and who won his own seat by a thin margin" last year.
"I'm uncomfortable until I see the articles" of impeachment, said Rose, referring to the formal charges that House Democrats will craft in coming days. “That's the most important things. When you can see the articles, that's when one can entertain whether one's comfortable or not.”
House Democrats are charging ahead but not without pockets of division, as lawmakers who began the summer divided largely rallied Thursday behind Speaker Nancy Pelosi's cry that his actions leave them “no choice but to act.”
The California Democrat's announcement that she was asking committee chairs to begin crafting articles of impeachment hardly staunched grumbling that the effort was risky for swing district lawmakers whose 2018 victories gave the party House control. But the strong consensus among Democrats was that the time had come to plunge forward.
“'There's certainly some anxiety among the more vulnerable members about how this cuts, but a broad acceptance that this moment has found us,” said Rep. Jared Huffman, D-Calif. “It's not something we could avoid.”
Trump, on the other hand, took a new approach Thursday, telling Democrats in a tweet that if they're going to impeach him, to “do it now, fast, so we can have a fair.... trial in the Senate, and so that our Country can get back to business."