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W.Va. Congressional Delegation Votes Against Impeachment Inquiry

CHARLESTON — Voting mostly along party lines, the U.S. House of Representatives voted Thursday to formalize impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump, with West Virginia’s Republican lawmakers voting against the resolution.

Voting 232-196, the House approved a resolution that includes rules and procedure for how a public impeachment inquiry will operate. Several House committees have been meeting behind closed doors over the last few weeks as they interview potential witnesses in the probe, a move which drew criticism from Republican lawmakers.

The impeachment inquiry stems from a phone call Trump had with the president of Ukraine where Trump allegedly withheld congressional-approved arms to the former Soviet-bloc country in exchange for Ukraine either beginning or announcing an investigation of former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter’s business dealings. Trump has since claimed there was no quid pro quo, or a favor done in exchange for something.

“Every American can see this for what it is: an attempt to remove a duly-elected president for strictly political reasons by a strictly partisan, illegitimate process,” said Brad Parscale, Trump 2020 campaign manager. “We can all read the transcript of the Ukraine phone call for ourselves and see that there was no quid pro quo and no basis at all for overturning the legitimate results of the 2016 election. Voters will punish Democrats who support this farce and President Trump will be easily re-elected.”

All three of West Virginia’s Republican House members — 1st District Congressman David McKinley, 2nd District Congressman Alex Mooney and 3rd District Congresswoman Carol Miller — voted with their fellow Republicans against the resolution. McKinley, the state’s senior member of the congressional delegation, said the founding fathers would be disappointed in Thursday’s vote.

“Our founding fathers never intended for impeachment to be used as a tool for scoring political points,” McKinley said. “Alexander Hamilton wrote in Federalist Papers No. 65, that there is always a danger that the decision to use the power of impeachment would be driven by partisan ‘animosities’ instead of ‘real demonstrations of innocence or guilt.’ Today’s purely partisan vote has proven Hamilton right.”

McKinley said the impeachment inquiry was distracting Congress from passing legislation that would be of benefit to the country.

“This process has continued to be unfair and unproductive,” McKinley said. “Democrats have created a biased narrative by using selective leaks and secretive interviews. Under Speaker Pelosi’s leadership, the House has had more subpoenas issued than bills signed into law. We must focus on issues Americans care about, like addressing the border crisis, fighting the opioid epidemic, and lowering the cost of prescription drugs.”

Mooney, who was one of several Republican members of Congress who stormed the Sensitive Compartmentalized Information Facility Oct. 23 where House Democrats were interviewing a witness behind closed doors, has posted several videos to his Twitter standing outside closed meeting rooms to protest what he said was the lack of transparency.

“There’s already been 37 days of secret hearings, which I attended once and attempted to attend many other times,” Mooney said. “Those secret hearings will still go on with this inquiry vote. I’m glad they had a vote so the American people can see where their representatives stand on this issue. At least we had a formal vote for people to observe.”

Miller, a member of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, has been part of some of these closed-door interviews. Miller said Thursday’s resolution doesn’t give Trump the same rights that former Presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton had.

“The resolution brought to the floor today fails to provide my Republican colleagues and I, as well as the Trump administration, the same rights offered in past presidential impeachment proceedings,” Miller said. “Their investigation is centered around secret hearings and selective leaks designed to damage the President. The process lacks transparency and fairness. For these reasons, I oppose this resolution.”

Two Democrats voted with the Republicans against the resolution, while Michigan Rep. Justin Amash — a former Republican, now independent — voted with the Democrats for the resolution.

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