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2 Southern U.S. House Democrats in GOP-targeted seats support impeachment in Judiciary Committee
U.S. Reps. Lucy McBath of Georgia and Debbie Mucarsel-Powell vote to remove President Trump
♦By Rich Shumate, ChickenFriedPolitics.com editor
WASHINGTON (CFP) — Two Southern freshman U.S. House Democrats who are on the Republicans’ 2020 target list — Lucy McBath of Georgia and Debbie Mucarsel-Powell of Florida — voted with their party Thursday in favor of articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump that were approved by the House Judiciary Committee.
The committee vote on articles of impeachment, after a contentious debate that stretched across three days, was the first formal legislative step in the process of trying to remove Trump from office. The full House is expected to vote next week on the articles, which accuse Trump of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
McBath represents the 6th District in the northwestern Atlanta suburbs that Trump narrowly carried in 2016. The president lost Mucarsel-Powell’s 26th District, which includes the southern part of metro Miami-Dade and the Florida Keys, by 16 points.
Republicans are targeting both seats in 2020.
During the debate on the impeachment articles, McBath said she was supporting them with “a heavy heart and a grieving soul.”
“I am greatly saddened by what we have learned, and I am forced to face a solemn conclusion — I believe the president abused the power of his office, putting his own interests above the needs of our nation, above the needs of the people that I love and serve,” she said.
“This is not why I came to Washington. I came to Washington because I love my country. I came to Washington full of hope, empowered by my community to serve them in Congress,” she said.
McBath also invoked the memory of her son, Jordan, whose murder in a racially charged shooting in 2012 started her down a road of activism that led her to Congress.
“I made a promise to my community that I would act. I promised that I would take that sense of protection, that love a mother has for her son, and I would use it for my community, for the American people,” she said.
McBath’s chief 2020 Republican opponent Karen Handel — whom McBath defeated in 2018 — said Americans remain “unmoved” by the “impeachment scam” and accused McBath of being “more interested in finding ways to take down President Trump than she is in finding the facts.”
“Lucy — it’s time to get back to work for GA6 and end these games,” Handel said in a Facebook post.
In her debate remarks, Mucarsel-Powell said she “did not come [to Congress] to impeach the president, but this president has violated the rule of law.”
“It is undeniable that this president has violated his oath of office, abused his power and obstructed Congress,” she said. “This is a clear and present danger to the future of our democracy.”
Mucarsel-Powell also said the issue of impeachment is “bigger than party, and the Constitution has no partisan allegiance.”
“We all agree that we cannot allow this president, or any future president, to abuse the power of the office,” she said. “We cannot accept a president who says, ‘America First,’ but really puts his own interest before the country.”
Mucarsel-Powell’s Republican opponent, Irina Vilariño, said “it saddens me that during this Christmas season, we are watching one party driven by politics and a personal agenda attempt to derail the American Presidency.”
“Unlike my opponent, I’m not interested in being a part of a political clique or spending all of my time trying to drag someone else down,” she said in a Facebook post. “I am interested in delivering common sense, practical leadership for our constituents and for our district.”
Eight other Southern Democrats on the Judiciary Committee who represent safe seats also voted for the articles of impeachment, including Steve Cohen of Tennessee; Hank Johnson of Georgia; Cedric Richmond of Louisiana; Ted Deutch and Val Demings of Florida; and Shelia Jackson Lee, Sylvia Garcia and Veronica Escobar of Texas.
All eight Republicans on the committee voted against the impeachment articles, including Doug Collins of Georgia; Martha Roby of Alabama; Matt Gaetz and Greg Steube of Florida; Ben Cline of Virginia; Mike Johnson of Louisiana; and Louie Gohmert and John Ratcliffe of Texas.
Watch McBath’s full statement in the Judiciary Committee
Watch Mucarel-Powell’s full statement in the Judiciary Committee
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Southern Judiciary Committee members split on party lines in William Barr contempt vote
Committee holds attorney general in contempt for refusing to produce Mueller report
♦By Rich Shumate, ChickenFriedPolitics.com editor
WASHINGTON (CFP) — Southern members of the House Judiciary Committee have voted along party lines to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt for refusing to turn over an unredacted version of special counsel Robert Muller’s final report.
Among the 10 Southern Democrats voting for the contempt measure May 8 was freshman U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath of Georgia, a top GOP target in 2020 in a Republican-leaning district in the Atlanta suburbs, and U.S. Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell of Florida, another top Republican target next year.
Leading the charge against the contempt citation was another Georgian, U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, who is the ranking Republican member of the Judiciary panel. He accused the Democrats of sour grapes in targeting Barr.
“(They) are angry the special counsel’s report did not produce the material or conclusions they expected to pave their path to impeaching the president,” Collins said.
The committee approved the contempt resolution 24-16. It will now go to the full House, where it is expected to pass.
A contempt citation would express the displeasure of the House but would not result in any official action against Barr. However, it would mark only the second time in U.S. history that an attorney general has been held in contempt by a house of Congress.
Democrats have demanded to see a full, unredacted version of the report. But Barr has insisted that legal restrictions preclude him from turning it over.
President Donald Trump has also invoked executive privilege to avoid disclosing the report, setting off a potentially protracted legal battle with House Democrats.
Among the Democrats voting yes in addition to McBath and Mucarsel-Powell were Shelia Jackson Lee, Sylvia Garcia and Veronica Escobar of Texas; Ted Deutch and Val Demings of Florida; Hank Johnson of Georgia; Steve Cohen of Tennessee; and Cedric Richmond of Louisiana.
Republicans voting no in addition to Collins were Louie Gohmert and John Ratcliffe of Texas; Martha Roby of Alabama; Mike Johnson of Louisiana; Ben Cline of Virginia; and Greg Steube of Florida.
Matt Gaetz of Florida did not vote, although he did speak against the resolution during the debate preceding the vote.