- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Democratic Rep. Jared Golden announced Tuesday that he will be splitting his votes on the articles of impeachment.

In a formal statement, the Maine freshman congressman said he would support the abuse of power charge against President Trump, but not obstruction of Congress.

Mr. Golden said he has no doubt the president misused his office for personal gain, but that he hoped the nearly $400 million in military aid was a separate article.

“Why exactly the Trump Administration withheld military aid from Ukraine is a question on which reasonable minds — looking at the same set of facts — may reach different conclusions,” he wrote. “But there is no such room for disagreement on one stark fact: the President of the United States asked a foreign government to aid in his reelection by soliciting an investigation of his political opponent based on trumped-up charges.”

Mr. Golden said he won’t support the obstruction article because it raises a substantive question about the limits of executive privilege. He also criticized the House for not exhausting all their options to get the administration to comply with their demands.

Democratic leaders said they would not pursue their subpoenas in the court because it would greatly slow down the process.

The article of impeachment for abuse of power stems from allegations that Mr. Trump leveraged a White House meeting and nearly $400 million in military aid to pressure the Ukrainian president to investigate political rival Joseph R. Biden and Ukrainian meddling in the 2016 election.

The second article, obstruction of Congress, is rooted in the administration’s refusal to cooperate with Democrats’ subpoenas of witnesses and documents in the impeachment inquiry.

Mr. Golden is the first lawmakers to say he will be split on the articles.

In a flurry of announcements of the past two days, all but two of those vulnerable members — Reps. Collin Peterson and Ron Kind — have given a firm commitment to vote for the articles.

New Jersey Rep. Jeff Van Drew — expected to switch over to the Republican Party this week — is the only firm “no” vote, though Mr. Peterson told his local news that he’s leaning towards voting against the articles.

• Gabriella Muñoz can be reached at gmunoz@washingtontimes.com.

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