Delegation responds to Trump impeachment: Rep. Johnson, Sen. Brown issue statements

Published 9:16 am Friday, December 20, 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Members of Ohio’s congressional delegation responded to the news on Wednesday that the U.S. House of Representatives impeached President Donald Trump on two charges.

The historic vote was split largely on party lines, making Trump only the third chief executive in the nation’s history to be impeached.

Trump was impeached in the Democratic-led House first on a charge that he abused the power of his office by enlisting a foreign government to investigate a political rival ahead of the 2020 election. The House then approved a second charge, that he obstructed Congress in its investigation.

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The votes for impeachment were 230-197-1 on the first charge, 229-198-1 on the second.

U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, whose district covers Lawrence County, voted against both charges.

“Since November 8, 2016, the events of today were destined to happen,” Johnson said in a news release. “Democrats continue to refuse to accept the results of the 2016 election, and have openly talked about impeaching President Trump since before he was even sworn into office.”

Johnson said Trump had “not committed any impeachable offenses” and referenced his speech on the House floor before the vote. The congressman had called for “a moment of silence” for Trump’s voters in the 2016 election.

“Remember the voices of the 63 million American voters that Democrats today are wanting to silence,” Johnson said in the speech, citing the popular vote total Trump received against Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s 65.8 million voters.

“Disenfranchising 63 million voters gives me 63 million reasons to vote no and I urge my colleagues to do the same.”

The articles of impeachment, the political equivalent of an indictment, now go to the Senate for trial. If Trump is acquitted by the Republican-led chamber, as expected, he still would have to run for reelection carrying the enduring stain of impeachment on his purposely disruptive presidency.

Ohio’s senior U.S. senator, Democrat Sherrod Brown issues a news release on the developments in the House.

“This is a solemn day for our country and an important one for the future of our democracy,” Brown said. “We are following the process laid out by the founders in the Constitution, and every senator owes it to the American people to be an impartial juror focused on the facts. I will listen to the evidence and weigh the facts of the case before coming to any decision. I urge my colleagues, of both parties, to do the same.”

The state’s senior senator, Rob Portman, had not released a statement as of Wednesday night.

— The Associated Press contributed to this report.