Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI-06) announced that he will vote against the articles of impeachment brought against President Donald Trump.
“Regrettably the impeachment process has become exactly what our great founding fathers warned us against,” Upton said in a statement released Thursday. “It has been highly partisan and clearly motivated by what I believe is an attempt to overturn the last election. I get it. Democrats aren’t happy with the result. But the time to vote on the next President is next November, not next week.”
Upton is among the more moderate Republicans in Congress and didn’t endorse President Trump in the 2016 election. The president, however, won Upton’s district by eight percentage points over Hillary Clinton.
Serving his 17th term in Congress, Upton was around for the impeachment of President Bill Clinton and voted in favor of three of the four articles against Clinton.
“Within 24 hours of President Trump’s election, efforts began to impeach him. We can’t have the impeachment process decided by political whim. It must be decided by the standard set by the founders of our democracy,” Upton said. “The President’s behavior was wrongheaded, inappropriate, and ill-advised, but was it impeachable? My answer is no.”
In his statement, Upton noted that he voted against the “abuse of power article of impeachment against President Clinton for many of the same reasons.”
“Many times throughout history Presidents have demanded executive privilege. The Constitution establishes an independent judiciary for a reason, to settle disputes between the Executive Branch and the Legislative Branch. Since the courts have not ruled in this situation, obstruction of Congress is premature,” he continued.
State Rep. Jon Hoadley (D- Kalamazoo), who is considered Upton’s top opponent in 2020, told the Associated Press that Upton’s comments “sound to me like someone who is walking away from his oath of office and trying to create a partisan smokescreen.”
“I think what President Trump did was wrong. Apparently, Congressman Upton does not,” Hoadley added.
The five other Republicans in Michigan’s congressional delegation also oppose impeachment, while Rep. Justin Amash (I-MI-03), who defected from the Republican Party earlier this year, plans to vote in favor of the articles of impeachment. Reps. Haley Stevens (D-MI-11) and Elissa Slotkin (D-MI-08) both represent districts carried by Trump in 2016 and are still undecided on impeachment.
“After these votes, we need to work on bridging the partisan divide in this country,” Upton concluded. “We can’t rewind; we need to reset. Together, we need to focus on what the American people really want us to focus on, solving problems that actually impact their lives.”
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