Illinois’ congressional delegation split along party lines over whether to hold open hearings in an effort to impeach President Donald Trump.
The vote Thursday fell mostly along party lines with only two non-Illinois Democratic congressmen voting "no."
Democrats have been holding closed hearings with various government officials for weeks looking into a phone call Trump had with Ukraine's president. Some say there was an illicit request for an investigation into Ukraine’s involvement in the 2016 U.S. election. There are also concerns Trump withheld military aid from Ukraine if the country does not investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, a possible challenger to Trump in the 2020 election, and Biden’s son Hunter over a job Hunter got with the board of a Ukrainian energy company. Biden said on a recording in 2018 he demanded a Ukrainian prosecutor be dismissed or the Obama administration would withhold a billion dollars in U.S. taxpayer-backed loans.
U.S. Rep. Bill Foster, D-Naperville, said the resolution to hold open hearings on the impeachment of Trump that passed Thursday by majority Democrats allows “the President and his Counsel to participate in the process, and establishing procedures for the transfer of evidence to the Judiciary Committee as it considers potential articles of impeachment.”
“It’s time for the American people to learn firsthand about the President’s misconduct and for the House of Representatives to move forward with its constitutional obligation to hold the President accountable,” Foster said.
Trump released a transcript of the phone call this summer after a whistleblower raised concerns. He said the call is “perfect” and said the Democrats’ effort is a “witch hunt.”
U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, R-Collinsville, said the process is illegitimate.
“They should have just called it the 'We can't find reason to impeach, so we are just going to keep this process going on and on and on Resolution,’ ” Shimkus said in a statement.
U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-Western Springs, said the resolution allowed the House to move forward with an impeachment inquiry.
“As this investigation goes on, the House can and must also continue to work on the issues that are most important to the everyday lives of Americans,” Lipinksi said.
U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, doesn’t see that happening.
“This is the biggest tragedy,” Davis said. “We can argue over process until the cows come home, but in the end this impeachment process is stopping us from getting the USMCA passed which is huge for our farmers and manufacturers … We’re not getting healthcare reform done … We’re not getting student loan debt taken care of. We’re not getting infrastructure being done at the federal level. All failures because of the far left’s determination to overturn the ‘16 election by trying to impeach the president.”
U.S. Rep. Darren LaHood, R-Peoria, said he hasn’t seen anything that rises to the level of "high crimes and misdemeanors."
“Only in extraordinary and extreme instances should it be applied, and as a former federal prosecutor, nothing in the facts or evidence presented so far supports the predicate for impeachment,” LaHood said.
Congress is back in session next week.