U.S. Reps. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) and Kathleen Rice (D-Garden City), both said they would vote to impeach President Trump in a report by Newsday on Sunday surveying the views of Long Island’s congressional delegation before the House vote Wednesday.
But the two members of Congress presented two different views on the impeachment vote and how the Senate should handle the trial.
“I was very reluctant all along because I know how divisive it is, because I’ve looked at the history of what happened with [Bill] Clinton and with [Richard] Nixon, and I know how serious it is because we are close to an election,”said Suozzi, who represents most of the North Shore and parts of Suffolk and Queens Counties as the representative for the state’s 3rd Congressional District
“You can’t just send a message to this president or to the future presidents that you could just do whatever you want and there’s no consequences,” he said.
But then he said he hopes for a short Senate trial without witnesses, adding “impeachment helps Trump, not Democrats.”
The call for a short trial without witnesses echoed what Senate Republicans have been calling for and put Suozzi at odds with many House and Senate Democrats including Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer who provided McConnell with a list of four administration officials who he said should testify in the Senate trial.
Rice, whose 4th Congressional District includes a majority of the Town of Hempstead and a small part of North Hempstead, was an early supporter of an impeachment inquiry and was very clear in her comments on her impeachment vote.
“There is no doubt in my mind that President Trump withheld congressionally appropriated military aid to a critical American ally to service his own agenda, not our national security interests,” Rice was quoted by Newsday as saying. “That’s a gross abuse of power.”
On Monday, she took to Twitter to further explain her decision.
“I do not look forward to the upcoming impeachment vote, but I believe it’s necessary to hold the President accountable for his actions, uphold the rule of law, and defend the Constitution,” Rice wrote. “I plan to vote for both articles of impeachment when they come before the House for a vote.”
Newsday also polled Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley), Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford), and Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-St. Albans) for their responses prior to the impeachment votes.
Zeldin and King both said they oppose impeachment but have varying opinions on how they wish the trial to run. King told Newsday he is leaning towards a short trial, while Zeldin expressed his desire for an extensive trial with witnesses.
Meeks said he would vote to impeach, urging to see a trial where Trump produces documents and witnesses he has withheld from the inquiry, according to Newsday.
On Friday, the House Judiciary Committee approved two articles of impeachment against Trump, on a party-line vote.
If a majority of votes are in favor of impeachment, Trump would join Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton as the only presidents to ever be impeached.
“No member came to Congress to impeach a president,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote in a letter to Democrats on Tuesday evening. “But every one of us, as our first act as a member of Congress, stood on the House floor, raised our hand and took a sacred oath: ‘I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.’”
Trump wrote a six-page letter to Pelosi on Tuesday, heavily criticizing her role during the impeachment process. In the letter, he claims that the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry as an “open war on American Democracy” and in the past has made parallels between the impeachment hearings and the Salem Witch Trials.
“You are offending Americans of faith by continually saying ‘I pray for the President,’ when you know this statement is not true unless it is meant in a negative sense,” Trump states in the letter. “It is a terrible thing you are doing, but you will have to live with it, not I!”
The two articles of impeachment were presented in a 658-page report by the House Judiciary Committee on Friday.
Article I charges Trump abusing his power and contacting Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky against former Vice President and Democratic Presidential Candidate, Joe Biden and his son. According to the report, Trump urged Ukrainian allies to launch an investigation on Biden and his son.
Article II cites Trump’s obstruction of Congress by his refusal to comply with subpoenas for documents and witness testimony.
The report states, “This continued solicitation of foreign interference in a U.S. election, as well as President Trump’s other actions, present a clear and present danger that the president will continue to use the power of his office for his personal political gain.”
Discussions of the articles are scheduled to begin on Wednesday.