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Dem Leaders Expect a Group of Swing-State Lawmakers to Defect on Impeachment Vote

From left: House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff (center) speaks during a media briefing after a House vote approving rules for an impeachment inquiry into President Trump, October 31, 2019. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

House Democrats are worried that the caucus could lose six or more moderate votes on impeachment, according to multiple officials who spoke anonymously to the Washington Post.

When the House voted to formalize impeachment on October 31, all but two Democrats — Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey and Collin C. Peterson of Michigan — voted with House leadership. Amidst concerns from moderates, who on Monday considered reviving a proposal to censure President Trump rather than impeach him, the fate of the impeachment vote is a bit less certain.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi could afford to lose 17 votes and still prevail with the vote, which will likely get the approval of former Republican Justin Amash. But House leadership is not whipping votes to ensure success, despite Pelosi saying in July that “censure is nice, but it is not commensurate with the violations of the Constitution should we decide [impeachment is] the way to go.”

“This is one of those issues where members have to come to their own conclusions; it’s just too consequential,” Daniel Kildee (D., Mich.), a deputy whip, said. “I think this is one of those votes where people are going to be remembered for a long time for how they voted on it.”

Moderates who initially voiced support for impeachment have been worried over polling which shows that support for impeachment has largely flatlined after the public hearings, the Post reports. Republican efforts to reclaim the House in 2020 have zeroed in on impeachment to target vulnerable districts, with the White House joining in in October.

On Tuesday, freshman Representative Elissa Slotkin (D., Mich.) — who represents a district which voted for Trump in 2016 — said she was “undecided” on the vote, despite signing a September op-ed in support of impeachment. Slotkin was heckled by constituents during a town hall in October for her impeachment defense, and said Wednesday that “the phones are ringing off the hook” from people on both sides of the issue.

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