Here’s what Centre County’s representatives in Washington said about impeachment

December 19, 2019
In The News

While the House of Representatives impeached President Donald Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, Centre County’s representatives stood in opposition to the decision — calling it an unfair “political stunt” aimed at undermining the electoral process.

On Wednesday, representatives voted — nearly along party lines — and approved two articles of impeachment against Trump, making him the third president in United States history to face removal by the Senate. Two Democrats opposed the first article on abuse of power, which accused Trump of using his power to solicit election assistance from Ukraine, but it passed 230 to 197. Three Democrats joined Republicans and voted against the second charge, obstruction of Congress. The vote was 229 to 198.

U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson, R-Howard Township, and U.S. Rep. Fred Keller, R-Kreamer, voted against both articles of impeachment. Both said the impeachment process was not supported by facts, evidence or reason.

“The vote was a political stunt aimed at reversing the votes of 63 million Americans who put the president in office,” Thompson said in a statement.

Thompson said he voted “with a resounding” no.

“I applaud the three Democrats who joined a Republican conference in opposition,” Thompson said. “I continue to warn others that scoring cheap political points is not worth leaving a lasting state on this institution. They need to understand the American public is tired of the games and want real results out of Washington.”

Keller tweeted throughout the day and called the impeachment vote “the culmination of years of unwarranted investigations, baseless accusations and a blind partisan disdain” for Trump.

Accusing House Democrats of abandoning “all respect for the Constitution and due process,” Keller said Democrats had no facts to prove Trump committed an impeachable offense. After the vote, Keller accused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democrats of using “their political power to attack and tear down” their opponents.

“From where we stand today, it is difficult to tell who will treat House Democrats more harshly: voters or history,” Keller said in a statement.

The process now moves to the Republican-controlled Senate, which will prepare and hold a trial.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said if the articles of impeachment were presented to the senate, a trial would likely happen in January. After the trial, the Senate would conduct a public vote on whether to convict Trump and remove him from office. A two-thirds majority vote is needed to remove the president from office.

Pennsylvania Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Casey Jr. and Republican Sen. Pat Toomey will act as jurors in the Senate trial.

In a statement, Toomey said he hopes the Senate will be “fair” — “unlike the process in the House.” Toomey said Pelosi and Chairmen Jerry Nadler and Adam Schiff denied the president due process.

“In a Senate trial, House impeachment managers should be permitted to make their case, and the president’s lawyers should be able to make their defense,” Toomey said. “At the conclusion of these presentations, the Senate can then decide what further steps may be necessary.”

Casey called Wednesday “a sad day in our nation’s history” and said the investigation was conducted in a “deliberate, fair and serious manner, reflective of the grave nature of the charges against the president.”

In September, Casey called for Trump’s impeachment, saying that the president pressuring Ukraine to investigate political opponents “is a textbook case of abuse of power.”

“In order to hold President Trump fully accountable, I support a formal impeachment inquiry in the House of Representatives,” Casey said.

The articles of impeachment have not yet been delivered to the Senate, and Pelosi would not commit to delivering them, citing concerns over having a fair trial in the Senate.

“The next thing for us will be when we see the process that is set forth in the Senate, then we’ll know the number of managers that we may have to go forward, and who we would choose,” she said on Thursday, hinting that McConnell had gone “rogue” after he said he would not call witnesses nor seek new evidence in a trial.

“Our founders, when they wrote the Constitution, they suspected that there could be a rogue president,” Pelosi said. “I don’t think they suspected that we could have a rogue president, and a rogue leader in the Senate at the same time.”