Rep. Jared Golden (D-ME) said Tuesday that he will vote for one article of impeachment charging President Donald Trump with abusing the office of the presidency and vote against the other article claiming that Trump obstructed Congress. The Maine Democrat chastised the divisiveness of the impeachment process.
Rep. Golden, a freshman swing district Democrat, became one of the few Democrats to against the House Democrat majority by voting against one article of impeachment.
Most other freshman swing district Democrats, including Reps. Max Rose (D-NY), Susie Lee (D-NV), Andy Kim (D-NJ), Kendra Horn (D-OK), and many Democrats who decided over the last week to vote for both articles of impeachment.
Rep. Golden explained in a statement Tuesday why he decided to back the first article of impeachment charging that President Trump had abused the office of the presidency.
The Maine Democrat said:
The House investigation clearly unearthed a pattern of evidence that demonstrates the corrupt intent on the part of the president, his personal lawyer, and members of his administration to leverage the powers of the presidency to damage a political opponent and strengthen the president’s reelection prospects. Given that the south-after investigation from a foreign government, the president’s actions are a realization of the Framer’s greatest fears: foreign corruption of our electoral process, and a president willing to leverage the powers of his office to benefit his own reelection. This action crossed a red line, and in my view, there is no doubt that this is an impeachable act. For this reason, I will vote for Article I of the House resolution to impeach President Trump for an abuse of power.
In contrast to many of his Democrat colleagues, Rep. Golden said that the president and his administration refusing to comply with congressional subpoenas relating to the impeachment inquiry does not amount to a high crime or misdemeanor.
Before wielding our awesome power to impeach a sitting president, we first ought to exhaust available judicial remedies, or — at the very least — give the courts a chance. If there president were to defy a court order to produce documents or to to give testimony in an impeachment inquiry, or if he were to encourage his subordinates to do the same, then a charge of obstruction would be appropriate. But while the president’s resistance toward our investigative efforts has been frustrating, it has not yet, in my view, reached the threshold of ‘high crime or misdemeanor’ that the Constitution demands. For that reason, I will vote against Article II of the House resolution regarding obstruction of Congress.
Rep. Golden represents Maine second congressional district, which serves as one of the 13 congressional districts that President Trump won during the 2016 presidential election by more than six percentage points. Then-candidate Golden beat incumbent Rep. Bruce Poliquin by 1.2 percent.
Rep. Golden also criticized how impeachment has become divisive for the country. The Maine Democrat said:
To my constituents, please know that I am deeply dismayed by the circumstances surrounding this inquiry, likely impeachment, and coming trial of the president. Indeed, my concerns about politics and the health of our democracy have only grown over the course of this process. The divisiveness of this impeachment inquiry has been terrible for our country, just as the Framers knew it would be. I also believe, however, that the president’s efforts to solicit a foreign government’s involvement in our upcoming election to undermine a political opponent represents a clear and imminent threat to our democracy that cannot go unchecked. I see it as my duty to vote in support of Article I in order to send a clear message to the president, to the country, and to the world that foreign interference in American elections is not acceptable, not welcomed, and will not be tolerated. [Emphasis added].
“In the end, I believe that the failure of Congress to act in a bipartisan fashion to send this message may represent the greatest threat to the health of our democracy,” Rep. Golden concluded.