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WI Congress impeachment vote split along party lines: what they’re saying

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Wisconsin's eight House representatives voted along party lines Wednesday as the House impeached President Donald Trump for the second time in his four-year term.

The state's three Democrats in the House all voted in favor of impeachment; the five Republicans all voted against it. Elsewhere in the chamber, 10 Republican congressmen voted to impeach Trump, delivering a final result of 232-197 in favor of impeachment.

Rep. Ron Kind (D - La Crosse) said last week he favored pushing Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment over impeachment because he felt there was not enough time in Trump's term to get a conviction in the Senate.

Kind said Wednesday in a virtual press conference he changed his mind because he now felt the question of impeachment drew a distinction among lawmakers more important than party affiliation.

"Right now, at this moment in history, to me, there are only two parties that matter, not a Republican or Democratic party, but the party of constitutionalists and the party of insurrectionists," Kind said.

Speaking on the floor of the House, Rep. Glenn Grothman (R - Fond du Lac) said he believed Trump's words before the riot, encouraging supporters to "fight like hell" were not meant to be taken literally.

"He clearly said he wanted a peaceful and patriotic demonstration," Grothman said. "He did say he wanted people to fight like hell or we're not gonna have a country anymore but that's obviously standard hyperbole and was not meant to aim at physical fights."

Grothman said that while he denounced the violence at the Capitol, he defended many of the people who traveled to Washington D.C. for a "Stop the Steal" rally, protesting the election results amid baseless claims of widespread voter fraud that were rejected in one court after another.

"You don't understand why they were here," Grothman said of the Trump supporters. "They're scared to death we're gonna go back to the days without Donald Trump, of hundreds of thousands of people crossing this border every month. They're scared to death no one's gonna keep their manufacturing here."

A question of unity

Rep. Tom Tiffany (R-Minocqua) said while he condemned the Capitol invasion, he believed the impeachment vote would only make it more difficult to bring Americans together following the end of Trump's term.

"Madam Speaker, [President Elect] Joe Biden has talked about unity and healing," Tiffany said. "Is that what this is today? Is accusing Republican lawmakers of sedition and calling for expulsion the plan for healing?"

Rep. Mark Pocan (D - Madison) said Democrats could not ignore the attempt to violently stop the certification of electoral votes. Pocan said the practicality of impeaching Trump with one week left in his term was secondary to what he felt was the only appropriate response to Wednesday's riot.

"You'll have unity when you have accountability and that's what we're trying to do," Pocan said. "You can't have an unprecedented attack on our Capitol by a sitting president, an attack that took five lives, including a Capitol police officer, and just say 'my bad.'"

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Safety concerns

A noticable addition at the U.S. Capitol this week has been the fencing at the presence of National Guardsmen, both inside and outside the building.

House members have had to go through a metal detector to reach the House floor.

Some Republicans in Congress have complained about the measures, with a Colorado congresswoman refusing to let security search her bag. Rep. Lauren Boebert (R - Colorado) had previously insisted on carrying a gun around Capitol Hill.

"We too have to be going through metal detectors because of the concern many members have about their fellow colleagues," Kind said. "Those who are carrying weapons, who refuse to disarm, even when they come to the floor of the House of Representatives, that's created a very distrustful situation."

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A. J. Bayatpour

Reporter, WKOW 27

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