Democrat Jared Golden to split his vote on impeachment articles

Rep. Jared Golden, a freshman Democrat who represents a Maine congressional district President Donald Trump won in 2016, said in a statement Tuesday that he will split his vote on articles of impeachment, voting to approve the article accusing Trump of abuse of power and against the article on obstruction of Congress.

In a lengthy statement posted to Facebook, Golden said Trump’s “actions are a realization of the Framers’ 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 clear 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.”

But, the congressman said, “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.”

Golden is the first House Democrat to announce a split decision on the articles of impeachment, which will receive a final vote on the House floor on Wednesday amid the historic impeachment push.

Democrats who represent districts won by Trump in the 2016 presidential election face a tough decision over how to vote on the articles, but so far most have announced they plan to vote in support of impeachment. Over the past several days, the vast majority of those 31 members have thrown their support behind both articles.

Only one Democrat — Rep. Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey — has said definitively that he plans to vote against both articles, but he is also expected to soon switch parties to become a Republican, though he has not yet publicly confirmed the move.

Democratic Rep. Collin Peterson of Minnesota may also vote against the articles, but has not yet said how he plans to vote.

In his statement, Golden called impeachment “a gravely serious issue” and said he wants the public to “have the opportunity to hear why I plan to vote the way I do straight from me.”

“While I do not dispute that the White House has been provocative in its defiance and sweeping in its claims of executive privilege, I also believe there are legitimate and unresolved constitutional questions about the limits of executive privilege, and that before pursuing impeachment for this charge, the House has an obligation to exhaust all other available options,” he wrote.