Dec 16, 2019

Democrats expect handful of defections on impeachment vote

The paperwork documenting the House Judiciary Committee member vote, Dec. 13. Photo: Astrid Riecken for the Washington Post via Getty Images

Most Democratic members and committee staffers who have spoken to Axios expect around four to six moderate Democrats will break ranks and vote against impeaching President Trump on Wednesday.

The big picture: According to conversations with multiple Democratic members this week, including those in vulnerable districts that voted for Trump, they don't expect a lot of Democrats to vote against the articles. But they do agree that there will likely be more defectors than there were on the vote launching a formal impeachment inquiry.

  • Republicans House members, however, appear to have united entirely behind the president. Leadership sources say they expect zero Republican defections.

Behind the scenes: Most centrist Democrats have publicly avoided committing to how they'll vote — expertly dodging reporters in the halls. Instead they said they plan to make their decision over the weekend after thoroughly reviewing the final articles.

  • One person who hasn't been shy is Rep. Jeff Van Drew, the New Jersey Democrat who is not only voting against impeaching Trump but has also told the president he's prepared to switch parties to become a Republican, according to two White House officials briefed on their conversation.
  • If you're looking for clues on which other Democrats might defect, a tempting place to start is with the House Democrats who attended Trump's holiday party last week while their colleagues were drafting articles of impeachment.

Go deeper: Inside the McConnell-Trump impeachment trial playbook

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Rep. Jeff Van Drew to vote against impeachment as a Democrat

Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Freshman New Jersey Rep. Jeff Van Drew told CNN's Manu Raju on Wednesday that he plans to vote against both articles of impeachment against President Trump as a Democrat.

Why it matters: A White House official told Axios' Jonathan Swan that Van Drew is expected to flip parties and become a Republican soon. Van Drew's statement ensures that House Democrats will have at least one defector Wednesday in the full House vote. But Democratic members and committee staffers have told Axios' Alayna Treene they expect four to six moderate Democrats to break ranks and vote against impeaching Trump.

Go deeper: The House Democrats supporting impeachment from districts Trump won

Keep ReadingArrowDec 18, 2019

Which Democrats voted against Trump's impeachment

Graphic: Danielle Alberti, Lazaro Gamio/Axios Visuals

Only two House Democrats crossed party lines to vote to oppose both articles of impeachment against President Trump on Wednesday. Both of them are feeling the pressure of representing swing districts Trump won in 2016.

Why it matters: Dissent was low as dozens of other Democrats who represent districts that Trump won sided with impeachment, either voting their conscience or calculating it could be even politically riskier to vote no.

Go deeperArrowDec 19, 2019

Capitol Hill digs in as Trump's impeachment looms

Photo Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Noam Galai/Getty Images

Ahead of today's historic House vote to impeach Donald John Trump, he dispatched a seething six-page letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi contending that a Democratic "partisan attempted coup" had treated him worse than "those accused in the Salem Witch Trials." She told reporters at the Capitol that the letter was "really sick."

Why it matters: The bitter exchange is a fitting denouement for the 86-day impeachment inquiry, which changed few minds in the country — and none at the Capitol.

Go deeperArrowDec 18, 2019