Rep. Collin Peterson joins GOP in voting against impeachment inquiry

The vote mainly stuck to party lines.
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Minnesota Rep. Collin Peterson was one of just two Democrats to vote against moving to the next stage of the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump.

The resolution, which provides guidance for the next steps of the historic inquiry, passed the house by a 232-196 margin, with Minnesota Democratic Reps. Betty McCollum, Ilhan Omar, Dean Phillips, and Angie Craig voting in favor.

But Rep. Peterson, whose 7th District voted by a 30-point margin for President Trump in the 2016 election, crossed the party lines to oppose the resolution. 

The vote will make the impeachment inquiry public for the first time, something Republicans have been calling for as proceedings thus far have involved depositions, which are traditionally held behind closed doors.

Despite their calls for public hearings up until now, all Republicans representatives voted against the resolution, with Minnesota Reps. Tom Emmer, Pete Stauber and Jim Hagedorn among them.

Rep. Collin Peterson.

Rep. Collin Peterson.

President Trump becomes just the fourth president to face an impeachment inquiry, which was sparked after testimony from government officials and a partial transcript showed he sought damaging information on Joe Biden and his son from the Ukrainian government, in apparent exchange for financial aid and a White House meeting.

The House will now hold hearings to determine whether this is sufficiently serious as to warrant removal from office, though ultimately this will be up to the Republican-controlled Senate to officially confirm.

Peterson has been among the most right-learning Democrats throughout his tenure as congressman to his rural western Minnesota constituents, and has previously backed Trump policies including on the border wall.

In a statement, Peterson said part of the reason he voted against the resolution is because the vote has been misrepresented as a vote on impeachment itself, which he says he won't make a decision on "until all the facts have been presented."

FiveThirtyEight reports that Peterson has voted in favor of Trump's position 50.4 percent of the time since January 2017.

Despite having previously signaled that he wouldn't vote for impeachment, Peterson's office was nonetheless the scene of a counter-impeachment protest in Detroit Lakes last month.

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In a statement to the Forum News Service, Peterson said that "if anyone thinks a partisan impeachment process would constrain President Trump, they are fooling themselves ... I believe it will be a failed process that will end up even further dividing our country and weakening our ability to act together on issues."

Ahead of the vote, President Trump called the impeachment inquiry "The Greatest Witch Hunt In American History!" which would supersede the Mueller inquiry, which he previously referred to as "The Greatest Witch Hunt in U.S. History."

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