Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN-07) tends to avoid the spotlight, but the 15-term congressman roasted the “failed impeachment inquiry” in a statement released Thursday.
Peterson was one of two Democrats to vote against the first article of impeachment, which concerned the president’s abuse of power, and one of three Democrats to vote against the second article of impeachment, which focused on President Donald Trump’s obstruction of Congress.
“Throughout my career, I have worked from the guiding belief that only through bipartisan action can we address the country’s most pressing challenges. At the beginning of the impeachment debate we were told that it would only move ahead with bipartisan support in the Congress and significant support from the American people,” Peterson said in his statement.
“After the Russia investigation, Mueller report and official impeachment investigation by the House Intelligence and the House Judiciary Committees we became more polarized and had less consensus. How can it be that after all the testimony, every Democrat thinks the president has committed an impeachable offense and every Republican thinks he has not?” Peterson continued.
He said the impeachment process “has not convinced the people” in his district that “we have impeachable offenses and that the president needs to be removed.”
“I disagreed with how the Russia probe and Mueller report were handled and think it set the stage for the failed impeachment inquiry. The inquiry and hearing have been partisan and have failed in convincing the country while further placating some people who have wanted the president impeached since he was elected,” he added, concluding his remarks by saying the whole process “has been a mistake.”
“I will not be whipped in line by my party,” he said. “I may stand alone but I stand in good conscience. History will show this to be a mistake and the Senate will make short work of an acquittal.”
Peterson was joined by Reps. Jeff Van Drew (D-NJ-02) and Jared Golden (D-ME-02) in casting dissenting votes on impeachment. Van Drew formally defected to the Republican Party during a meeting with President Trump in the Oval Office Thursday afternoon, but cast his vote against impeachment as a Democrat.
Peterson said he was approached by Republican leadership about changing teams, but claimed he is “not going to switch parties at this stage of my career.”
His congressional district went to President Trump by more than 30 percentage points in the 2016 election.
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News, The Ohio Star, and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Collin Peterson” by Collin Peterson.