Democratic Whip Says Democrats Expect ‘To Lose Some’ Votes on Impeachment

December 6, 2019 Updated: December 6, 2019
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House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) said that Democrats expect “to lose some” more votes after a House Democrat indicated he wouldn’t vote for impeaching President Donald Trump.

“We do expect to lose some and that’s why it’s a conscience vote and it’s with their constituents,” Clyburn said on Friday during an appearance on CNN.

Clyburn named Rep. Joe Cunningham (D-S.C.) as a possibility, noting that members of Congress represent a diverse group of people.

“He is probably talking to his constituents. He knows where they would like to see him stand on this question, and I suspect that’s the way he will vote. I’m not going to urge him to vote the way I’m going to vote.”

Clyburn said that he’s not whipping votes for the impeachment. “I mean simply that this is a vote of conscience. I think that when it comes to something so divisive as impeachment, we have to leave members up to their own consciences, their own constituents, and what they think is in the best interest of their love for country.”

Jeff Van Drew
Rep. Jeff Van Drew (D-N.J.), then a U.S. senator, speaks in a Jan. 14, 2016 file photo. (Mel Evans/AP Photo)

He said it would be “a bit unseemly” to try to convince caucus members to vote to impeach Trump. “This is too serious, this is too much about preserving this great Republic,” he said.

Reps. Jeff Van Drew (D-N.J.) and Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) joined Republicans in voting against the impeachment process resolution, while no GOP members voted for the legislation.

Van Drew said on Thursday that he plans to vote against all articles of impeachment that his caucus is drafting. Peterson also suggested he still doesn’t support the inquiry, telling reporters: “I don’t have any idea what they’re doing.”

Republicans have remained unified in opposition to the impeachment while more Democrats have voiced concerns about the process, especially those representing districts that Trump won in 2016.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif), makes a statement at the Capitol in Washington on Dec. 5, 2019. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said earlier this year that there wouldn’t be an impeachment push without bipartisan support but Clyburn said in another recent appearance on CNN last month that there doesn’t need to be bipartisan support.

“We would. Absolutely,” he said, referring to moving forward with articles of impeachment without such support. “I think that when we talk about bipartisan support, we’re not limiting that to the Congress,” he added, saying polls showed “rising support in Republican voters in favor of moving forward.”

“What the speaker was saying that there needs to be bipartisanship, I don’t think that she was limiting that to the Congress,” he said.

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