Minnesota Democratic U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson was one of only two members of Congress to break party ranks in an impeachment inquiry vote Thursday.
Peterson voted against the Democratic resolution to formalize the congressional investigation of President Trump over his dealings with Ukraine. The president is accused of holding up U.S. military aid to Ukraine as he sought an investigation into a domestic political rival.
Peterson and New Jersey Democratic U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew were the only diversions from a party-line vote in which Democrats backed rules for the inquiry and Republicans opposed them. The resolution passed 232-196.
Peterson represents a western Minnesota district that went heavily for Trump in the 2016 election. The 15-term congressman hasn’t said whether he’s running again but is expected to face a stiff Republican challenge if he does.
Four Minnesota Democratic House members supported the resolution while the three delegation Republicans were against it.
Here’s what they’re saying about their votes:
DFLers in Minnesota delegation
Rep. Peterson, 7th District, opposed the resolution:
“This impeachment process continues to be hopelessly partisan. I have been hearing from my constituents on both sides of this matter for months, and the escalation of calls this past week just shows me how divided our country really is right now. I have some serious concerns with the way the closed-door depositions were run, and am skeptical that we will have a process that is open, transparent and fair. Without support from Senate Republicans, going down this path is a mistake. Today’s vote is both unnecessary, and widely misrepresented in the media and by Republicans as a vote on impeachment. I will not make a decision on impeachment until all the facts have been presented.”
Rep. Ilhan Omar, 5th District, supported resolution:
“Today is a vote for the rule of law, the Constitution, and the sanctity of our democracy. Today, we say as a House that no one is above the law. No President can threaten our national security for political gain. And no president can undermine the integrity of our elections.”
Rep. Betty McCollum, 4th District, supported resolution:
“The President of the United States and Republicans in Congress want the American people to view presidential conduct that abuses power, is blatantly corrupt, and undermines our national security as normal. But it’s far from normal: Donald Trump’s actions are a stain on the presidency and violate his oath of office. I, too, swore an oath to ‘support and defend the Constitution’ and my vote today to advance the impeachment inquiry is a step towards fulfilling my constitutional duty. The American people will now hear from witnesses with detailed information about actions taken by this White House and the president that put at risk our national security and the security of the 2020 election. The sole remedy to protect our democracy and citizens from an abusive, dangerous, and corrupt president is impeachment, and we are formally on a path toward impeaching Donald Trump.”
Rep. Dean Phillips, 3rd District, supported resolution:
“Today, I voted to codify procedures for Congress’s constitutionally-mandated oversight of this Administration. As a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, I have joined my Democratic and Republican colleagues at secure depositions as we seek facts. Together, we’ve had the opportunity to ask questions and hear compelling testimony from many credible witnesses. Each deposition has been fair, with equal time afforded to Democrats and Republicans, principled, and driven by the pursuit of fact. As we enter the public phase of the inquiry, Americans will have a chance to join the conversation – to bear witness, review evidence, and weigh in on the principles and conduct of elected leaders who will illuminate our country’s future.”
Rep. Angie Craig, 2nd District, supported resolution:
“On September 23rd I called for a fair, open, and impartial impeachment inquiry, and that is why I voted yes on formal procedures that will provide Democrats and Republicans equal time and a public forum to question witnesses. I did not make this decision lightly. But we have a responsibility to uncover all of the facts and ensure that no elected official is above the law.”
Republicans in Minnesota Delegation
Rep. Jim Hagedorn, 1st District, opposed resolution:
“Throughout this entire process, Nancy Pelosi, Adam Schiff and House Democrats have acted in an overtly political and hyper partisan fashion in an unwarranted effort to remove our duly elected president. The resolution offered by the Democrats today was a public relations charade to try to validate their closed, one-sided and partisan impeachment exercise. Instead of focusing on impeachment and politics, I encourage my Democrat colleagues to work in a bipartisan fashion with Republicans and pass the U.S.-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade deal, move forward with a transportation and infrastructure bill, enact measures to secure America’s borders, and consider commonsense solutions to drive down the price of generic prescription drugs.”
Rep. Tom Emmer, 6th District, opposed resolution:
"For the past month, Speaker Pelosi has authorized Adam Schiff to oversee a secretive process which has been closed to the public and most Members of Congress, including myself. This secret process has been devoid of due process and has tainted the possibility of any objective inquiry going forward. We saw a politically divided vote today because House Democrats are obsessed with political persecution, and have completely ignored the issues that are important to the everyday lives of Americans."
Rep. Pete Stauber, 8th District, opposed resolution:
“For weeks, Adam Schiff and Speaker Pelosi have deprived the American people of a fair and transparent impeachment process by holding closed door hearings, preventing Members of Congress from listening in on the cross examination of witnesses, stopping Republican Members from calling their own witnesses, and leaking cherry-picked bits of testimony to members of the press.
“The American people deserve better than these Soviet-style impeachment proceedings. Today, I voted against the impeachment resolution as it would allow Schiff to continue to act as prosecutor, judge, and juror and do absolutely nothing to provide this Administration with the same due process rights which were afforded in past presidential impeachments. It is critical to note that while Democrat Leadership chooses to continue with these unfair impeachment proceedings, serious issues like lowering the cost of healthcare, modernizing our infrastructure, and growing our economy are being put on the backburner.”
Your support matters.
You make MPR News possible. Individual donations are behind the clarity in coverage from our reporters across the state, stories that connect us, and conversations that provide perspectives. Help ensure MPR remains a resource that brings Minnesotans together.