News Local/State

Rep. Davis Joins House Republicans In Voting Against Impeachment

U.S. Representative Rodney Davis of Illinois.

U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Talorville) seen at a 2018 rally at the Southern Illinois Airport for Republican candidates, which featured an appearance by Pres. Trump. Jeff Roberson/AP

As expected, U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis of Illinois joined House Republicans on Wednesday in voting against the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.

The first article, which charges Trump with abuse of power, was approved largely along a party line vote, 230-197-1. The second article on obstructing Congress passed 229-198-1.

No Republicans voted for either article, although Michigan Rep. Justin Amash, who left the GOP earlier this year to become an independent because he supported impeachment, also voted for both articles. Three Republicans did not vote, including Illinois Congressman John Shimkus, who is currently out of the country on a planned visit to see his son in Tanzania.

Davis, a 13th District Republican from Taylorville, who has supported Trump throughout the impeachment inquiry, called impeachment the second-most serious decision Congress can make, behind declarations of war.

“And I have seen nothing, nothing in the witnesses or the evidence that has been put forth, that would generate a criminal charge, number one, and secondly, that would rise to the level of a constitutional authority of impeachment for a high crime or misdemeanor,” Davis said.

Davis called Wednesday night’s party-line impeachment vote the first partisan impeachment in U.S. history, and one that could set a new precedent for future political conflicts in Washington.

“And now we’ve entered into the true partisan political impeachment process,” said Davis. "And what will happen the next time we have a president that differs from a party in the House, you will see a partisan impeachment. And I certainly hope that we, as members of Congress, do everything we can to stop that.”

Davis said he had planned to speak on the House floor Wednesday, but that the schedule favored lawmakers serving on committees with jurisdiction over the impeachment issue.

Davis represents the 13th Congressional District, which includes parts of Bloomington-Normal, Springfield, Champaign-Urbana, and Decatur. The 13th District, which Trump won in 2016 by 5 percentage points, is a top Democratic target in 2020.

One of Davis’ Democratic challengers in 2020, Betsy Dirksen Londrigan, was unavailable for an interview Wednesday. In a statement, Londrigan said she supported the two articles impeachment.

“Serious times require thoughtful leadership independent of partisan politics,” said Londrigan, who ran against Davis in 2018. “The testimony from military and foreign policy experts in the Trump Administration has clearly shown serious wrongdoing by the President. Americans have the right to expect our President to hold our nation's interests above his personal political gain. Congressman Davis' suggestion that President Trump did nothing wrong shows he's willfully ignoring the facts and putting partisanship above protecting our democratic values.”

The other Democrat in the 13th District race is Stefanie Smith of Urbana.

“This goes so far beyond impeachment for me,” Smith said in a statement. “I would vote yes, but understand that impeachment in no way improves the material circumstances of our lives and does not address the underlying issues that allow abusers to occupy positions of such great power. This is largely symbolic, as the Senate is unlikely to act appropriately. Impeachment isn’t the goal, it is merely a mile marker on the path as we dismantle systems of oppression.”

Trump is just the third president in American history to be impeached. The Constitution now calls for a trial in the Senate over which John Roberts, the chief justice of the United States, must preside.