New York: Democratic Party leaders in the House of Representatives have thwarted an attempt by the more impetuous members to impeach President Donald Trump, but the reprieve was clouded by a vote to prosecute two members of his cabinet for criminal contempt.
“We just received an overwhelming vote against impeachment, and that is the end of it,” an unrepentant Trump boasted at a rally on Wednesday before redoubling his attacks on the four “left-wing” non-white women Representatives that had got him a House censure on Tuesday.
The move to impeach Trump was opposed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other senior moderate leaders who fear it could play into Trump’s hands and become a distraction in an election year while having no chance of passing in the Senate.
Although there have been suggestions for beginning impeachment proceedings against Trump, they had been stalled until Wednesday when Representative Al Green used a procedural tactic to force a vote on his proposal to impeach the president.
The measure to indefinitely delay its consideration — which effectively stops it without formally killing it received 332 votes. But the 95 votes by Democrats against the move was a sign of the rage boiling against Trump that the leaders could not contain.
Pelosi has instead pushed for inquiries against Trump’s and his family’s business and personal dealings by Congress because those could lead to legal action against him while in office or out of it.
Justifying her policy she told reporters that six committees “are working on following the facts” and “that is the serious path that we are on”.
Voting along party lines, the House approved a motion to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Ross in criminal contempt for refusing to testify before a House committee and asked the Justice Department to prosecute them.
This was the first time Trump’s cabinet officials had been held in contempt by the House.
A House Committee had wanted the two officials to testify before it on an attempt by the administration to include a question in the census forms wanting to know if those answering were citizens. The question was opposed by Democrats who said it would discourage non-citizens, especially illegal immigrants, from participating in the census. This, in turn, could lead to an undercount that would affect how legislative seats are apportioned. (IANS)