Valley lawmakers explain votes for impeaching Trump

MGN Online

McALLEN — The Valley’s congressmen have shared their thoughts on President Donald Trump’s impeachment on Wednesday evening.

Trump became the third chief executive to be charged with high crimes and misdemeanors in U.S. history following votes by the House of Representatives on two articles of impeachment.

In a news release hours before the vote, U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela said he would vote in favor of impeachment.

“One of the primary roles of the President of the United States is to lead by example, especially when it comes to promoting democracy around the world. Ukraine is a strategic ally, and the country’s geographic proximity to Russia makes Ukraine an important partner in the international effort to contain Russian aggression. Ukraine’s democratic story is recent but historic, and it is essential to our national security interests in Eastern Europe,” Vela said.

“President Trump’s attempt to extort Ukraine, by withholding funds intended to protect that country’s national security, in an effort to thwart his political opposition in this country is an abuse of the power of the Presidency. The President of the United States is responsible for promoting democracy around the world, not undermining it. For that reason, I will join my colleagues in voting for his impeachment.”

Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, D-McAllen, spoke on the House floor prior to Wednesday’s vote in which he declared Dec. 18 a solemn day for the United States.

“I did not come to Congress to impeach a president, but the facts are clear and convincing,” said Gonzalez. “I am obligated by my oath of office to defend our Constitution and democracy. Today will go down in history but tomorrow is another day. Tomorrow, we will resume our work to lower prescription drug costs, to fight for debt-free education, to ensure care for our seniors, our veterans, and those with special needs. I will continue to keep my promise to those in the 15th District of Texas to do all that I can to improve their quality of life as tomorrow is a new day and our work does not cease.”

House members essentially voted along party lines for both articles of impeachment, save for a handful of members.

In Article I for abuse of power, 229 Democrats, zero Republicans and one Independent voted in favor of the first charge. Two Democrats, 195 Republicans and zero Independents voted against the charge. One Democrat and two Republicans chose not to vote, and one Democrat declared herself present.

Article II for obstruction of congress passed with 228 Democrats, zero Republicans and one Independent voting in favor of the second charge. Three Democrats, 195 Republicans and zero Independents voted against the charge. Like the prior vote, one Democrat and two Republicans chose not to vote, and one Democrat declared herself present.

In a news release, Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, said that his decision to vote in favor of both articles came after hearing the evidence and arguments from both his Democratic and Republican colleagues.

“The House investigations made it clear: the President pressured a foreign government for his own political gain while withholding congressionally-approved foreign aid, compromising our national security,” said Cuellar in the news release. “Additionally, the President obstructed Congress by refusing to cooperate with any attempt to gather the facts.”

“I did not come to Washington to impeach a President; I ran for Congress to pass meaningful legislation for the district that elected me,” Cuellar continued. “This process brings me no joy, however, as a member of Congress, I have an obligation to protect our Constitution and our nation from abuses of power.”

Cuellar’s entire statement can be found on his website, cuellar.house.gov.