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House Votes on Impeachment, Criminal Contempt Charges

The impeachment vote may signal future division
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 17, 2019 5:50 PM CDT
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., holds a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, July 17, 2019.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

(Newser) – To impeach or not to impeach? That's been the question for House Democrats, and Wednesday they tried it—and it died. But the 332-95 vote against impeaching Trump for his racist tweets Sunday did rally 95 Democratic yeas vs 137 Democratic nays, confirming a divide in the party that could spell trouble ahead, the New York Times reports. Rep. Al Green of Texas put forth the impeachment article, which argued in part that Trump's tweets "brought the high office of the president of the United States in contempt, ridicule, disgrace, and disrepute, has sown seeds of discord among the people of the United States, has demonstrated that he is unfit to be president ... and has committed a high misdemeanor in office."

But Nancy Pelosi, who didn't say she disagreed, argued for a different tack: "We have six committees that are working on following the facts in terms of any abuse of power, obstruction of justice and the rest that the president may have engaged in," she said. "That is the serious path that we are on." Later in the day, the House voted 230-198 to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in criminal contempt of Congress for not handing over documents about the White House attempt to put a question about citizenship on the 2020 census, CNN reports. While the mostly party-line vote should spark TV pundits, it may not have a practical effect, since US attorneys are unlikely to press charges against the nation's top lawman. (Read more impeachment stories.)

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