U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson said Saturday that he likely will vote against impeachment.
Peterson, a conservative Democrat who has not yet announced whether he’ll seek a 16th term representing western Minnesota’s 7th District, told the West Central Tribune that “unless they come up with something between now and Wednesday,” he intends to vote against impeachment.
After the House Judiciary Committee voted to approve two articles of impeachment on Friday, the full House is set to vote on the articles in the coming week.
Peterson was one of just two Democrats to vote against a resolution in October that set a road map for impeachment proceedings.
In November, he told MPR that he was skeptical of the impeachment inquiry and that it shouldn’t move ahead with the support of only one party. At the time he said Trump’s actions in withholding aid to Ukraine were “stupid,” but not necessarily a crime or an impeachable offense. And he said his constituents felt the same way.
Peterson, speaking Saturday while attending an event in Litchfield, Minn., told the West Central Tribune that he feels supporters of impeachment decided long ago that it was a goal, “and now they’ve spent a year trying to figure out how they can make a case for it. That’s backwards. I just don’t agree with this.”
He also told the newspaper that because it’s likely Trump would be acquitted in the Senate, the impeachment process is “dividing the country for no good reason.”
Going into the weekend, Peterson was one of two members of Minnesota’s House delegation who had not indicated how they would vote on articles of impeachment. Rep. Angie Craig, D-Minn., said earlier this week that she would spend the weekend poring over testimony, reports and the articles of impeachment before deciding on how she’ll cast her vote.
Hagedorn reiterates opposition to impeachment
Meanwhile, Rep. Jim Hagedorn, R-Minn., reiterated his opposition to the impeachment of President Trump during a town hall meeting with about 80 constituents Saturday in Mankato.
Hagedorn, in his first term representing southern Minnesota’s 1st District, said that “from the beginning, the process on impeachment for the Democrats has been overtly political.
“It’s been divisive and unwarranted. And I think it’s an unwarranted attempt to remove a duly-elected president,” he told MPR. “There’s no impeachable offense. I say, ‘You know it when you see it.’ I haven’t seen it. And frankly, I don’t the people of southern Minnesota have seen. And I’m going to vote no.”
Hagedorn drew a mix of support and criticism from the crowd Saturday for his stances on gun control and global warming.
He said would not support bans on assault rifles or other classes of weapons. And Hagedorn said the world has been heating and cooling since “God created it,” and said he does not believe there is human-caused global warming.
“I believe there is climate change. I don’t believe there’s man-made climate change,” Hagedorn said, to a mix of applause and groans from the audience. “If you believe that, there are ways to mitigate that other than making us less competitive around the world and degrading our standard of living.”
Alan Holm of Sleepy Eye voted for Hagedorn and said he felt opponents of Hagedorn lacked civility at Saturday’s meeting. Holm said Hagedorn is “on the right track” in supporting a new trade agreement with Mexico and Canada that appears headed for passage in Congress.
Cindy Olson of Madison Lake said she wished Hagedorn was more open to other viewpoints, and ongoing conversation about contentious issues.
“(He) tends to fall back on his, ‘You know what you elected me for, and that’s my position’ — and doesn’t seem willing to take in new information and educate himself, and then educate his constituents,” she said.
MPR News reporter Martin Moylan contributed to this story.
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