OTTAWA – While Congressman Adam Kinzinger has said he believes the impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump are a distraction, he left no doubt Tuesday which way he’ll vote.
Kinzinger, R-Channahon, affirmed he will vote “no” on impeachment.
“Since the day President Trump was elected, many Democrats in Congress have been searching for any means by which to delegitimize and remove him from office,” Kinzinger said in a statement on Facebook. “And since then, we’ve seen them jump head first from one investigation to another hoping something so treacherous would be uncovered that we’d have no choice but to throw him out. And at that they’ve failed miserably.”
The Democratic-majority House Rules Committee met through the day Tuesday, with lawmakers arguing over the parameters for today’s debate, which is expected to culminate in votes to make Trump the third president to be impeached in American history, according to the Associated Press.
House Democrats are planning today to launch the debate and, likely, votes to impeach Trump, formally accusing him of abusing his power as president in dealing with Ukraine to help himself politically and then obstructing Congress by blocking the later investigation. Votes will follow.
No Republicans are expected to vote to impeach Trump. But one by one Democrats are amassing a majority from their ranks as lawmakers, including many freshmen who could risk re-election in fall from districts where Trump is popular, announced they will join in voting for the two articles of impeachment.
Dani Brzozowski, of La Salle, who is running for the Democratic nomination in the 16th District and the opportunity to oppose Kinzinger in November 2020, said she would vote in favor of impeachment not because she disagrees with the administration’s policy, but “because it’s the right thing to do.”
“As soon as it became clear that the president had compromised the integrity of our democracy for personal gain, impeachment became the necessary mechanism by which we counteract that affront and begin the process of restoring faith in the both the political system of this country and the constitution itself,” Brzozowski said.
“Kinzinger’s unwillingness to consider the facts here demonstrates complicity in corruption and a lack of respect for the office to which he was elected. He has traded sincere representation of his district for blind allegiance to a party that serves an elite few over the many.”
“Impeach and remove” rallies are scheduled across the nation at various district offices of Republican House members, including one set at Kinzinger’s Ottawa office.
Through the process, Kinzinger said impeachment has been weakened, along with public trust.
“Operating as (House Speaker Nancy) Pelosi, (House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam) Schiff, and (House Judiciary Chairman Jerry) Nadler have doesn’t just damage our institutions, it plays directly into the hands of Russia, Iran and China, who love nothing more than seeing our country further divided and distracted by an all-consuming and unnecessary political circus,” Kinzinger said.
Last week, Kinzinger was one of 12 House Republicans targeted in a national campaign from a group called the Republicans for the Rule of Law.
The group encouraged Kinzinger with a billboard in Rockford and TV commercials aired in his district on Fox News to demand key witnesses testify in the impeachment inquiry.
The congressman, however, did not react to the campaign.
The group said it targeted Kinzinger, because he has shown signs of independence. Kinzinger, at times, has criticized Trump’s comments on Twitter.
He called on the president to redact a post referencing “lynching” and called another one of his tweets that mentioned a Civil War-like fracture if the president was removed from office “beyond repugnant.” He’s also been critical of the president’s decision to remove U.S. troops from Syria where they were supporting Syrian Kurds.
“Make no mistake, I haven’t agreed with every single thing President Trump has said or done,” Kinzinger said in a statement Tuesday. “But I bet that’s true for all of us when it comes to any president, whether they belong to our party or not. As the pendulum swings and power changes hands, we all get a turn to agree and disagree with our presidents – sometimes passionately. But that doesn’t mean we should impeach or remove a president from office without definitive proof they’ve committed ‘high crimes and misdemeanors.’
Kinzinger added: “In this country, thank God, we the people get to decide who our president will be, not politicians. And that’s how it should be.”
He concluded “let’s get back to real work.”
As impeachment appears set in the House, attention will shift to the Senate which, under the Constitution, is required to hold a trial on the charges. It is expected to begin in January.
According to the Associated Press, Trump wrote a letter Tuesday to Pelosi, maintaining he did nothing wrong in seeking foreign investigation of political rivals, and he attacked Democrats for focusing on impeachment rather than other issues.
Trump also repeated his objections to the process of the House inquiry, claiming “more due process was afforded to those accused in the Salem Witch Trials.”
– The Associated Press contributed to this report.