The House of Representatives voted Wednesday to impeach President Donald Trump.
Here are reactions from Central Texas politicians:
U.S. Representative Bill Flores (R-Texas)
"Today, for the third time in our country’s history, the House voted on articles of impeachment of a sitting president. This process has been partisan and politically motivated from the start.
"This afternoon, I delivered the following remarks on the floor of the House of Representatives regarding the pending articles of impeachment related to President Donald J. Trump – ‘Madam Speaker: On March 11th of this year, the Speaker of the House said the following in an interview with The Washington Post [flores.house.gov] – “Impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless there’s something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don’t think we should go down that path, because it divides the country.” I think most Americans would agree with that statement because it sounds thoughtful and reasonable. So, here we are today getting ready to vote on articles of impeachment. How did the majority party do in meeting the objectives stated by the Speaker? Here are the answers: First, the only compelling attribute about this sham is the lengths the majority has gone to appease the radical, socialist wing of their party. Second, the only overwhelming feature about this sham is the evidence of abuse of power by the majority and the reckless disregard for fairness by the majority throughout this circus. And, finally, the only bipartisan activity related to this sham will be the votes against these flimsy articles of impeachment. I ask my colleagues to join me in opposing these deplorable articles of impeachment and to demand that the House get back to working on the priorities that hardworking American families care about most.’
"As anyone can tell from my comments, I voted NO on the Democrats’ articles of impeachment. In the paragraphs that follow, I will layout the truth behind this sad episode in American governance, and why I made my decision to vote against impeachment.
"I think it is instructive to reflect on the comments of Alexander Hamilton in Federalist 65, where he wrote that impeachment often ‘will connect itself with the pre-existing factions, and will enlist all their animosities, partialities, influence, and interest on one side or the other,’ causing the process to ‘be regulated more by the comparative strength of parties, than by the real demonstrations of innocence or guilt.’ These warnings from Mr. Hamilton have manifested themselves in the current impeachment process, which is not about innocence, or guilt, or even about any crimes; rather, it is about the animosities of the House majority party toward our nation’s duly elected president.
"The House of Representatives has considered the impeachment of a sitting president four times during the history of our Republic. I concur with House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy when he characterizes the current process as follows – ‘this impeachment attempt is the thinnest, fastest, and weakest impeachment in our country’s history. The real fear that you have here going forward is that this will be the new norm of Congress [and] what Alexander Hamilton warned us all about -- that a political party would capture this just to use it for their own political gain... Speaker [Nancy Pelosi] admits for the last two and a half years that she's been trying to impeach this President.’
"President Trump also identified this problem in a letter [flores.house.gov] that he provided to Speaker Pelosi yesterday where he stated, ‘Any member of Congress who votes in support of impeachment—against any shred of truth, fact, evidence, and legal principle—is showing how deeply they revile the voters and how truly they detest America’s Constitutional order. Our Founders feared the tribalization of partisan politics, and you are bringing their worst fears to life. ... This is nothing more than an illegal, partisan attempted coup that will, based on recent sentiment, badly fail at the voting booth. ... History will judge you harshly as you proceed with this impeachment charade. Your legacy will be that of turning the House of Representatives from a revered legislative body into a Star Chamber of partisan persecution.’
"Since Speaker Pelosi announced the impeachment inquiry, the Democrats’ pattern of behavior has been deeply irresponsible and reckless. They have operated in secret, abused the rules, abused their power, denied due process, disregarded the facts and evidence, and instructed witnesses not to answer Republican questions. They even used focus groups to decide which crime they should accuse the president of. Despite all these abuses, despite having stacked the deck in their favor, the Democrats have failed to prove their case. They proceeded in their partisan and irresponsible determination to impeach the president, putting the Constitution and the Republic in peril. Moving to impeach a president based on this record of assumptions and hearsay is, as liberal constitutional law expert Jonathan Turley testified, ‘not just woefully inadequate, but, in some respects, dangerous as the basis for the impeachment of the American president.’ Nowhere in the Constitution does it say you can impeach a president without direct evidence. Nowhere in the Constitution does it say you can assume impeachable conduct. The Constitution does not say if you are angry enough at a president of the opposing party and are afraid you cannot beat him in the election, that you can assume impeachable conduct.
"The Democrats’ real reasons for pursuing this have been made clear in this video -- https://youtu.be/XZuSl55a69Y [flores.house.gov]
"Even before the whistleblower complaint was filed, more than half of the Democratic caucus supported impeachment [flores.house.gov]. In fact, 44 percent of the entire Democratic caucus has voted previously to impeach the president, and those votes took place prior to the July phone call even taking place.
"The Pelosi, Schiff, Nadler, Democrat impeachment process will fail because it was flawed from its origins. This was first suggested by The Washington Post [flores.house.gov] only 19 minutes after the inauguration of President Trump when they published the following headline – ‘The Campaign to Impeach President Trump has begun.’ Following that headline the impeachment campaign started with Russia, continued to the Mueller investigation, jumped to a so-called whistleblower, screamed with claims of ‘quid pro quo’, morphed to ‘bribery, extortion, and wire fraud’, before ultimately limping to the finish line with no criminal charges, and ultimately culminating with vague claims of ‘abuse of power’ and ‘obstruction of justice.’
"Today’s impeachment gamble will fail when it goes to the Senate. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell succinctly described the House Democrats’ process in the speech [flores.house.gov] that he gave yesterday on the Senate floor. He called the process the ‘most rushed, least thorough, and most unfair impeachment inquiry in modern history.’ He went on to state that, ’House Democrats’ slapdash impeachment inquiry has failed to come anywhere near the bar for impeaching a duly-elected president,’ and noted that they are, ‘poised to send the Senate the thinnest, least thorough presidential impeachment in our nation’s history.’
"Democrats justified this process today by calling it a ‘solemn occasion’. In reality, it is business as usual for Democrats who are consumed by their blinding hatred for President Trump. Americans want Congress to focus on bipartisan solutions to fix real-world problems. The impeachment charade and the hyper-partisanship of the Left has kept Congress from doing the work necessary to fix the problems that hardworking American families care about most. Now that Pelosi, Schiff, Nadler, et al. have played this political stunt to its impending demise, my hope is that the People’s House can now get back to doing the people’s business. I also pray that future Congresses will look at the unfortunate history created by the House of Representatives of the 116th Congress and use it as an example to avoid.”
Representative John Carter (TX-31)
“It is a fundamental ideal of our republic that every American receives justice under the law. As Members of Congress, we are required to uphold that ideal and as a former judge, I was tasked with the same responsibility. I find that this entire impeachment process has lacked impartiality, respect for the Constitution and justice. When I was on the bench, I instructed every jury the same way. I told them, “what someone heard from another source other than what they directly observed is not evidence.” The evidence presented by the House Majority in this case was hearsay. In fact, the most substantial direct evidence is the transcript of the President’s telephone call, which did not prove an impeachable offense.
“While the Democrats try to rewrite their history, the truth is that the impeachment of President Trump began the day he was inaugurated. In fact, 17 of the 24 Democratic members on the House Judiciary Committee voted to impeach President Trump well before the phone call with the Ukraine President even occurred. The last month of impeachment hearings have been political theatre designed to present hearsay and rumors as facts. Make no mistake, today’s vote isn’t about justice, or upholding the rule of law, this is politics.
“The Constitution is clear — treason, bribery, or high crimes and misdemeanors are impeachable offenses. The evidence presented does not meet those standards required by the supreme law of the land. Impeachment is one of the most serious acts that Congress will undertake, it should not be taken lightly or used to strong-arm those you disagree with politically. It’s irresponsible that the Democrats have weaponized the impeachment process to appease their base, and their behavior over the last three years is the very behavior the Founding Fathers warned us about. Fortunately, I have no doubt that the American people recognize Democrats’ antics, and they will not easily forget. Today is truly a sad day for justice. ”