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Rep. Gallagher releases statement regarding impeachment vote

Published: Jan. 13, 2021 at 5:15 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (AP/WBAY) - No Republicans in Wisconsin’s congressional delegation joined with the state’s Democrats in voting to impeach President Donald Trump.

The impeachment vote Wednesday came a week after Trump encouraged loyalists at a rally to “fight like hell” against November’s election results before they stormed the U.S. Capitol.

RELATED: Trump impeached after Capitol riot in historic second charge

All five of Wisconsin’s Republican House members voted against impeachment, while all three Democrats were in favor.

Following the vote Wednesday afternoon, Wisconsin’s 8th Congressional District Representative Mike Gallagher issued a statement regarding why he voted against impeachment. Here is his full statement:

“I strongly opposed the un-Constitutional and dangerous effort to overturn the election on January 6th, but I think impeachment accomplishes nothing. First, let’s be candid. President Trump bears responsibility for the tragic events of January 6th, 2021. He lied to his supporters, insisted that his “sacred landslide” election was stolen, and suggested that Vice President Pence should or even could reverse the outcome. He then dithered for hours as the Vice President, the Congress, and its employees were in mortal danger, castigating Pence as a coward.

Many of my colleagues carry a heavy share of blame as well, jumping into the fray for political advantage. And of course, those in the insurrectionist mob who chose to desecrate our seat of government, attack our police, and embarrass our country must face the full force of the law. In wake of this tragedy, failing the President’s resignation, a swift and strong censure from Congress is the most prudent path forward.

Yet House Democrats refused our good faith offer of censure. Instead they have rushed to impeach the president even though any trial in the Senate would likely begin after he leaves office, and therefore it will not remove President Trump from office and is unlikely to prevent President Trump from holding office again. Many among their ranks, apparently including Speaker Pelosi, also believe Republican Members of Congress who objected to the Electoral College vote deserve to be expelled from the body.

This is not wise. It will not advance the cause of justice. It will not restore our constitutional order. If anything, it will simply feed a cycle of enmity and polarization, which is already spiraling further out of control, chilling speech and silencing debate. We must break that cycle, whatever the cost to our own careers and however unsatisfying to our own sense of anger and outrage. That cycle, fed by and feeding upon mutual distrust and recrimination, did not start on January 6th. It did not begin with President Trump’s election. It is not likely to end soon.

However, if we act with prudence, we can at least begin to reverse course. We can work to rebuild rather than erode trust. We can step back from the ledge. Everyone in Congress, House and Senate, Republican and Democrat, should commit to that goal. We do not know all the pertinent facts about January 6th, and we likely will not know them until well after President Trump has left office.

We know that the president enflamed the crowd and encouraged them to march towards the Capitol in a show of resolve. But we also know that he did not tell them to lay violent siege to the Capitol. That semantic distinction matters. Impeachment is a political tool, but its credibility with the public hinges on charges matching the facts. The fact that the president urged a peaceful march, however irresponsible in context, will make an eleventh-hour impeachment for “Incitement to Insurrection” look partisan and pointless.

A second partisan impeachment will create more and not less cynicism among the American people. Done hastily, it will sow confusion and distrust. Delayed until summer, it will collapse. A second failed impeachment will dramatically empower, not diminish, President Trump. This is not a time for such fruitless games. It is a time for honesty. We are here because America’s elected leaders have been lying to the American people.

President Trump’s denials about the election may have been the most conspicuous of these lies, but he is not alone. Leaders of both sides have spent the last four years cashing in on temporary outrage. The proverbial chickens have come home to roost. The American people do not trust us. We need to earn back their trust. The American people demand accountability. They especially cry out for justice for Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who was beaten to death by members of the insurrectionist crowd.

To give them justice, let us start by telling the truth. Why was security at the Capitol so light? Why did it take so long to call out the National Guard? What happened to the Chain of Command? Did anyone in the White House speak to participants in the riot? If so, who and when and to what ends? What did the president say and do during the multi-hour gap between his speech and his tweets telling the rioters to go home? The American people want to know the real answers to these questions. They deserve to know.

Congress should empanel a special investigatory committee, with subpoena power, to establish and then publish the facts surrounding January 6th. The committee should have an equal number of Republicans and Democrats. Its meetings should be closed to the public and its members and staffers should commit to a gag order. Service on this committee must not be an opportunity for grandstanding. If the special committee uncovers criminal wrongdoing, even if it involves President Trump, that information should be transmitted to the executive branch for appropriate prosecutions.

Doubtless, a thorough account of the events of January 6th will also reveal acts of great bravery. We have already seen video of police officers putting themselves in great danger to protect us. We owe them all a debt of gratitude. The American people deserve to know those facts too. This will not be possible on the path of impeachment.

The House has passed articles, but the Senate will likely acquit. Along the way we will get more grandstanding but little truth. Even if the Senate were prepared to convict President Trump, disqualifying him from running for president a third time expresses a fundamental lack of faith in the American people. President Trump has lost my support—permanently. Yet this decision, ultimately, is up to the American public.

Previous disqualifications prevented local corruption from infecting federal officeholding. That is a good and responsible use of the disqualification power. Yet if we, as a Congress, put special fetters on who can run for president, then we may as well just admit that we do not trust the American people to make a wise choice. Perhaps that is what some of my colleagues believe. I do not.

The American people want a Congress that works for them, not for retweets. They want legislators, not pundits. And they want to be told the truth. We all had a hand in creating the toxic environment that blew up on January 6th. We are going to have to work together to fix it.”

Wisconsin Rep. Mike Gallagher on why he voted against impeaching President Trump

Although 6th Congressional District Representative Glenn Grothman didn’t issue a statement Wednesday, he had posted on Facebook Tuesday saying he would vote against the articles of impeachment.

This week the House will be (again) discussing and voting on articles of impeachment against President Trump. I will...

Posted by Congressman Glenn Grothman on Tuesday, January 12, 2021

7th District Representative Tom Tiffany has not released a statement regarding the vote.

Meanwhile, Democrat Mark Pocan, who represents Wisconsin’s 2nd Congressional District, tweeted a video saying he voted to impeach President Trump, saying there is no healing without accountability.

Rep. Gwen Moore, who represents Wisconsin’s 4th Congressional District, also took to Twitter regarding her vote to impeach Trump.

The final vote results were 232 in favor of impeachment, while 197 voted against it. Four House members, all GOP, did not vote. CLICK HERE to view the full final vote count and a list of who voted for and against the resolution.

Security continues to be increased at the U.S. Capitol and at state capitol buildings around the country ahead of threats of violence starting Sunday.

As Action 2 News reported Wednesday, Gov. Tony Evers activated the Wisconsin National Guard and is sending 500 troops to Washington, D.C. This is in addition to National Guard members being authorized to help support police at the state Capitol in Madison.

The governor’s office isn’t saying how many troops will be involved in Madison, citing security concerns, but the troops are part of the state’s Reaction Force to respond to requests for assistance on short notice.

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