Houston Chronicle

Bipartisan support statement correct

- By Louis Jacobson

The claim: Trump’s second impeachmen­t was “not just bipartisan — it’s the most bipartisan impeachmen­t in American history.” — Jake Tapper, CNN anchor.

Tapper made the statement moments after the vote was taken Jan. 13.

PolitiFact rating: True. Trump’s second impeachmen­t attracted more bipartisan support — 10 GOP floor votes in favor — than the impeachmen­ts of Andrew Johnson or Bill Clinton, or Trump’s first impeachmen­t.


No Republican­s supported the first impeachmen­t of Trump in 2019. It’s also higher than the five Democrats who voted to impeach President Bill Clinton on both successful counts in 1998. And it was more bipartisan than the impeachmen­t of President Andrew Johnson, which did not receive any Democratic support. (We’ll address President Richard Nixon, who resigned under threat of impeachmen­t, as well.)

The article of impeachmen­t considered by the House on Jan. 13 cited Trump’s false claims about the election results, including at the rally of his supporters on Jan. 6.

By having “incited” the crowd, the article said, Trump “gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutio­ns of government. He threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power, and imperiled a coequal branch of government.”

The final vote was 232 to 197, with 10 Republican­s joining all Democrats in voting for the sole article of impeachmen­t.

The Republican­s who broke ranks and voted to impeach were Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the third-ranking House Republican; John Katko of New York; Adam Kinzinger of Illinois; Fred Upton and Peter Meijer of Michigan; Jaime Herrera Beutler and Dan Newhouse of Washington; Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio; Tom Rice of South Carolina; and David Valadao of California.

Here’s a rundown of past presidenti­al impeachmen­ts, including some committee votes.

Andrew Johnson

When Johnson was impeached in 1868, no Democrat in the House supported the overall floor vote to impeach. In that vote, all but two Republican­s voted for impeachmen­t. The House went on to pass 11 specific articles of impeachmen­t, along largely party-line votes.

Bill Clinton

The impeachmen­t of Bill Clinton in 1998 attracted less bipartisan support for the two of the four articles approved by the Judiciary Committee that went on to win approval on the House floor.

The first article that won approval from the full House was Article 1, which said Clinton had “willfully provided perjurious,

false and misleading testimony” to the grand jury related to the Paula Jones and Monica Lewinsky sexual harassment cases.” This article passed the committee on a party-line vote. On the floor, the article was approved 228206, with five Republican­s voting against it and five Democrats voting for the article.

The other one to pass the House, Article 3, said Clinton had obstructed justice related to the lawsuits against him. This article also passed the committee on a party-line vote, and it passed the full House by a 221-212 margin, with 12 Republican­s voting against it and five Democrats voting for the article.

Two articles passed the committee but failed on the floor. Article 2 involved perjury during Clinton’s answers in deposition­s. In committee, this was a party-line vote, except for one Republican defection — then-Rep. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. On the floor, it failed, 205-229.

And Article 4, which addressed obstructio­n of Congress, passed the committee on a party-line vote before failing on the floor, 148-245.

Trump’s first

Article 1 against Trump in 2019 addressed abuse of power, focusing on Trump’s alleged efforts to strong-arm Ukraine into investigat­ing Joe Biden. The article passed the Judiciary Committee on a party-line vote.

Article 2 focused on Trump’s efforts to block cooperatio­n with Congress on its impeachmen­t inquiry. This passed the Judiciary Committee by an identical party-line vote.

On the House floor, no Republican voted for either article. Two Democrats voted against Article 1, Reps. Collin Peterson of Minnesota and Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey. (Van Drew later switched his affiliatio­n to the GOP.) Peterson and Van Drew were joined in voting against Article 2 by Democratic Rep. Jared Golden of Maine.

Effort against Nixon

The impeachmen­t of President Richard Nixon in 1974 didn’t make it to the House floor because Nixon resigned first. So it’s not directly comparable. But we can look at what happened in the House Judiciary

Committee when it approved three articles of impeachmen­t against Nixon.

Article 1, which focused on obstructio­n of justice, won support from six Republican committee members as well as all Democrats. That was about one-third of Republican­s on the committee.

Article 2, which focused on abuse of power, also secured the support of six Republican committee members in addition to all Democrats.

Article 3, which focused on obstructio­n of Congress, received less bipartisan support, even though it passed the committee. This article saw two Democratic defections and only two Republican­s joining with the Democratic majority.

Such votes make Nixon’s impeachmen­t the previous high-water mark for bipartisan­ship, though again it’s not a case of apples-toapples since we’ll never know what the floor vote would have looked like.

That said, the number of committee Republican­s joining Democrats for the Nixon impeachmen­t was smaller than the number of overall House Republican­s backing Trump’s second impeachmen­t.

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