President Trump impeached, Iowa Republicans vote down measure

President Trump made history by being the first U.S. president to be impeached twice, and Iowa’s three Republican representatives voted against the measure, saying impeachment will only further divide the nation.



U.S. President Donald J. Trump delivers remarks at the Values Voter Summit at the Omni Shoreham Hotel on Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019 in Washington, D.C.

Julia Shanahan, Politics Editor

Iowa’s three Republican representatives in the U.S. House voted against the second impeachment of President Trump for inciting insurrection after a mob of Trump supporters violently stormed the U.S. Capitol last week.

Trump was impeached Wednesday afternoon during his last week in office by a vote of 232-197, making him the first U.S. president to be impeached twice. Iowa’s sole Democratic Congresswoman, Rep. Cindy Axne, joined other House Democrats in voting to impeach Trump.

Ten House Republicans joined Democrats in voting to impeach Trump, unlike Trump’s impeachment last year, when Democrats and Republicans voted on party lines.

Iowa’s Republican representatives — U.S. Reps. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, Ashley Hinson, and Randy Feenstra — are in the beginning days of their first terms in Congress. Hinson unseated former U.S. Rep. Abby Finkenauer, a Democrat, in the 1st Congressional District, and Miller-Meeks beat a Democrat by six votes in the state’s 2nd Congressional District.

“Impeaching him with 7 days remaining in his term would only further divide the nation and make it more difficult for President-Elect Joe Biden to unify and lead our nation,” Miller-Meeks said in a written statement before the vote.

About 2,000 people gathered in Washington D.C. on Jan. 6 for a “Rally to Save America” while the U.S. Senate was tallying Electoral College votes to confirm President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. The rioters stormed the Capitol, making it to the Senate chamber minutes after the senators were evacuated and resulting in five deaths. The deaths included rioters and Capitol police officers.

“As horrific as the events of January 6 were, President Trump has conceded and committed to an orderly transition of power on January 20,” Miller-Meeks said in the statement. Trump only recently committed to an orderly transition of power and refused to concede the election for weeks after results were certified.

RELATED: Iowa’s congressional delegation split along party lines over impeachment

Supporters of the impeachment and Democratic leadership say that Trump incited the violence by promoting conspiracy theories that the Nov. 3 election was rigged and telling the rioters “I love you” in a live address on Jan. 6, along with other instances of Trump encouraging people to protest the election results.

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., brought forward the article of impeachment with House Democrats on Jan. 11 for “inciting violence against the government.” The House also adopted a resolution on Tuesday night that called for Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th amendment to remove Trump from office. Pence has said he does not support that measure.

Hinson said in a statement posted to Twitter before the vote that those involved in the violence that took place at the Capitol should be “prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” and that she thinks Trump does bear some of the responsibility.

However, she said, impeachment is the wrong path forward.

“Speaker Pelosi is bypassing regular order — including the process of collecting evidence, conducting committee hearings, and having preliminary votes — to rush toward a second impeachment of President Trump,” Hinson said in the statement. “Just a week out from a new Administration, impeachment will only serve to feed the flames and further divide our nation.”

Axne, Iowa’s only Democratic member in Congress, said in a statement on Wednesday that incitement of insurrection is a high crime, and that it is too high a crime to ignore.

“This violent attack on our democracy was no accident,” Axne said. “For months, the President had used the power and pulpit of his office to spread lies about the legitimacy and security of our elections. And then, in a desperate attempt to overturn his own loss, he pressed his supporters to impede the certification of his own election.”

Trump was first impeached by the House in December 2019 for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress after evidence surfaced of Trump allegedly trying to coerce Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky into providing election interference against Biden.

Trump’s first impeachment was voted on party lines, and the Senate voted to acquit Trump of the charges. Iowa then had three Democratic representatives in the U.S. House, and all three voted to impeach Trump in 2020.

As of Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell did not say if he would call the Senate into session to vote for a possible acquittal — or removal from office — for Trump.

Last week, spokespeople for U.S. Sens. from Iowa Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst, both Republicans, didn’t indicate how they would vote in a potential trial in the Senate, but a spokesperson for Grassley said the senator wanted to seek unity, and impeachment would further divide the nation.