Inhofe withholds comment on House impeachment case, cites upcoming trial
Oklahoma’s five members of the U.S. House voted Wednesday against impeaching President Donald Trump for inciting insurrection, with freshman Rep. Stephanie Bice saying it was a waste of time “to impeach a man who will no longer be in office.”
“I will not vote to further divide this nation at a time when we should be focused on helping the American people and unifying the country,” said Bice, R-Oklahoma City.
The House voted 232-197 to impeach Trump for helping to incite the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 that left five people dead and many others injured. Ten Republicans voted for impeachment on Wednesday, compared to none in 2019, when the House approved two articles of impeachment against Trump, for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
The process now moves to the U.S. Senate, which is not expected to hold a trial until after President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated on Jan. 20.
Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe, a Republican, said Thursday, “After yesterday’s vote in the House of Representatives, I expect to be serving as a juror in the near future. Unlike the proceedings last year which followed the normal, considered process of hearings and testimony, we have not yet reviewed the House’s case. Accordingly, I will withhold further comments given my role as a prospective juror.”
Bice is the only member of the Oklahoma delegation who wasn’t in office in 2019, when Trump was impeached the first time. She defeated Democratic incumbent Kendra Horn, who voted for both articles of impeachment. During a hard-fought Republican primary last summer, Bice aligned herself with Trump and his policies.
She beat Horn by four points in the 5th District, which includes most of Oklahoma County and Pottawatomie and Seminole counties.
Echoing statements made Tuesday by Rep. Tom Cole, R-Moore, Bice said Trump had not been allowed to defend himself in the impeachment process.
- Related to this story
- Gallery: Drive for 45 Rally
- Article: Oklahoma members head to safety as Capitol is mobbed
- Article: Manufacturers group calls for Pence to invoke 25th Amendment removing Trump from power
- Article: Pro-Trump rally in OKC has much different feel than Washington, D.C.
- Article: Opinion: A sad spectacle at the U.S. Capitol
- Article: 'Violence never wins': Congress reconvenes to continue Electoral College count after pro-Trump riot at Capitol
- Article: Inhofe describes chaos as Trump rioters mobbed Capitol
- Article: Sen. Jim Inhofe says Mike Pence told him he was hurt that Trump turned on him
- Article: After riot, most Oklahoma lawmakers still vote to reject two states' electoral votes
- Article: US Capitol quiet after night of unprecedented assault: 4 dead, 52 arrested, FBI seeking information
- Article: Amid recriminations, Lankford, Bice say they weren't trying to overturn Biden's election
- Article: President Trump won't attend Joe Biden's inauguration
- Article: Rep. Tom Cole: Impeachment of Trump would mean more national trauma
- Article: Trump bears some responsibility for encouraging mob, Oklahoma lawmakers say
- Article: How Oklahoma teachers talked about the Capitol riot with students
- Article: Futile effort to help Trump may help shape some lawmakers' legacies
- Article: OKC council candidate posts pro-Trump rhetoric; has never voted in a city election
- Article: Chris Christie: Trump mob incitement an 'impeachable offense'
- Article: Republican blocks House from bringing up 25th Amendment bill, forcing vote
- Article: House passes measure calling on Pence to invoke 25th Amendment and remove Trump from office
- Article: Cole speaks against resolution urging Pence to invoke 25th Amendment
- Article: Oklahoma Capitol security enhanced as FBI warns of armed protests
- Article: GOP Rep. Liz Cheney says she will vote to impeach Trump
- Article: Pence refuses to invoke 25th Amendment
- Article: Rep. Tom Cole opposes impeachment of Trump, calls for healing
- Article: Oklahoma legislators advised to avoid the Capitol this weekend due to possible protests
- Article: Donald Trump impeached for 'incitement' of mob attack on US Capitol
- Article: 5 takeaways as the House impeaches Trump for second time
- Article: Trump impeachment sets up politically perilous Senate trial, possibly threatening Joe Biden's agenda
- Article: 'Never too late': Trump's second impeachment comes quickly compared to months-long investigation into Ukraine
- Article: US Capitol siege has echoes of the bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building
- Article: Skydance bridge in Oklahoma City glows red, white and blue, honoring inauguration
- Article: Watch Garth Brooks singing 'Amazing Grace' at President Joe Biden's inauguration ceremony
- Video: Lawmakers warned of possible protests ahead of inauguration day
- Video: Pro-Trump rally in OKC had much different feel than Washington, D.C.
- Video: Trump faces possibility of second impeachment
“In bringing the articles of impeachment against President Trump, there has been no substantive investigation, or process for evidence to be brought forth from both sides for members of the House to review,” she said. “Additionally, there will be no time for a trial in the Senate before the transfer of power. Every American, including President Trump, has a right to defend themselves.”
Democrats argued that Trump, because of his grievances about the election and his power to motivate his followers, poses a threat of more violence and should be removed, though it would take a conviction by the Senate to remove him.
Cole said impeachment “should only come after fully reviewing and investigating all the facts, engaging expert witnesses and providing due process to the accused. This is necessary to ensure the American people have confidence in the procedures that govern the House now and for generations to come. Moreover, the presidency itself demands due process in impeachment proceedings.
“To be clear, the shameful perpetrators of the Capitol siege must and will be held accountable for their crimes and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Indeed, the president must also realize that his words carry meaning and accept responsibility for them. I hope that is a lesson every elected official remembers.”
Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Cheyenne, who has now voted on three impeachments — with the impeachment of former President Bill Clinton being the first — said, “The rush to impeach the president today egregiously forgoes any committee process and is void of any due process.
“The ultimate blame for last Wednesday’s violent actions lies with those who attacked law enforcement, broke down the doors of the Capitol, and attempted to disrupt our democracy. For generations of Americans to come, I continue to pray we wake up to peaceful days ahead and healing for our nation.”
Rep. Kevin Hern, R-Tulsa, said, “This hasty rush to impeach a sitting President without any investigations should alarm all of us. President-elect Biden has repeatedly said he seeks to heal this country — it’s time to do just that. However, today’s action did nothing but harden our divisions even further. I stand ready to find bipartisan solutions to the real problems facing our country.
Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-Westville, said the impeachment of Trump “doesn’t help us move forward.” He called the events of Jan. 6 “a dark mark on American history” and said Americans “need to learn to debate better than this.”
CNN reported Tuesday that Mullin was among the House members who complained about being required to go through a metal detector to get on the House floor. Mullin said it was “constitutional right" to go into the chamber and "they cannot stop me,” CNN reported.
Alicia Andrews, chair of the Oklahoma Democratic Party, said Wednesday that Mullin acted like “a petulant child.”
“Somehow, Mullin has the mistaken notion that he is above the law,” she said. “He has clearly spent too much time under the wings of a failed president and now believes that he has more rights than the people he has taken an oath to serve.”
As the House debated impeaching Trump for the second time, the president awarded the National Medal of Arts to musical artists Toby Keith, an Oklahoman, and Ricky Skaggs, NBC News reported.
Note: This story has been updated with a comment from Sen. Jim Inhofe. It also changes the number of dead attributed directly to the riot.