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Nebraska Representatives vote no on House Impeachment

Reps. Jeff Fortenberry (NE-01), Don Bacon (NE-02), and Adrian Smith (NE-03)
Reps. Jeff Fortenberry (NE-01), Don Bacon (NE-02), and Adrian Smith (NE-03)(Courtesy Photo)
Published: Jan. 13, 2021 at 4:50 PM CST
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Nebraska’s three Republican members of the House of Representatives voted against the articles of impeachment against President Trump Wednesday. The House voted 232-197 to impeach Trump, with 10 Republicans joining Democrats for impeachment. Congressmen Jeff Fortenberry (NE-01) and Don Bacon (NE-02) released statements condemning Trump’s role leading to the mob’s attack, but saying impeachment wasn’t the way to move forward.

Shortly before the vote, Congressman Jeff Fortenberry (NE-01) said in a statement:

“In his speech and subsequent hesitation to swiftly react to the violence, the President wrongly amplified an emotionally charged environment––emboldening persons predetermined to do violence, adding to a mob frenzy, and overshadowing the important policy work of four years and those who peacefully stood by him.

Our objective should be this: Restore peace in our country. Restore confidence in our government. Restore decency and decorum.

In just seven days, Joe Biden will be President. I voted to certify his election. In order to begin the process of healing our nation after this traumatic moment, we must choose wisely. If we use the blunt instrument of impeachment, we will punish the President but deepen the trauma of an America already wracked by political violence. The call for accountability ought now to be found in the hard slog to rebuild.

I will vote against impeachment.”

After the vote, Congressman Don Bacon (NE-02) said in a statement:

“Last week, as my staff and I remained in lockdown while a mob terrorized our nation’s Capitol, I became increasingly outraged and saddened that our great country was so devastatingly divided. Our Capitol was overrun with violence and it angered me deeply.

“While the President was wrong to not concede and bears much responsibility for what happened on January 6, he did commit last week to an orderly transition of power on January 20, which is less than a week away. As a veteran and Congressman, I took an oath to support and defend the Constitution. My votes against impeachment charges for the President, against using the 25th Amendment to force the President to leave, and acceptance of the electoral college vote all reflect that.

“Section 4 of Article II of the Constitution states that a President shall be removed from office upon an impeachment conviction. Removal from office is a consequence of an impeachment conviction, and the President will already be out of office by the time the Senate takes up impeachment hearings. Further, this impeachment was done without a single hearing, which is not the due process we honor in our country. Finally, the decision by the Speaker to impeach a week prior to the inauguration will only exacerbate the divide we have and further inflame the passions. We need to put cold water on the fire, not more fuel. I supported a censure that would have had more bipartisan support and would have helped the Biden transition get a better start. Now, the Senate will have to focus on an impeachment on a President that has already left, and not be focused on the requirements of a new Administration.

“Now is the time to come together and heal our country as we begin a new session and welcome a new Administration into the White House. After months of political dysfunction, we need less hyper-partisanship and more civility.”

Representative Adrian Smith (NE-03) made the following statement early Wednesday evening:

“The events of last Wednesday were nothing short of horrific. I am appalled at what I saw last week and fully support the prosecution of every participant and planner of the insurrection.

“Snap impeachment, however, without a complete investigation sets a dangerous precedent. This vote may feel politically expedient to Democrats, but this is not the correct way to address the violence nor will it bring our country together.”

In a statement, the Nebraska Democratic Party called the vote predictable.

“Bacon, Fortenberry and Smith are weak politicians who cannot even stand up to Trump when he incites a radical mob,” said NDP Chair Jane Kleeb. “They have stood silent and enabled Trump’s reckless behavior the past four years. A vote against impeachment was a tacit endorsement of last week’s insurrection on the Capitol, which resulted in death and destruction -- including that of a Capitol police officer beaten with a fire extinguisher. Nebraska Republicans have zero courage -- so it will now be up to the voters and our party to elect people with a backbone in 2022.”

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