The House of Representatives on Wednesday voted to set aside a resolution by Rep. Al Green, D-Texas, to introduce article of impeachment against President Trump – the third time the Houston-area lawmaker has taken a shot at impeaching the president, but the first since Democrats regained control of the House.
Lawmakers voted 332-95 to table Green’s resolution, which was widely opposed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and other top Democrats worried that the measure would force vulnerable swing-district lawmakers into peril ahead of the 2020 elections. The bipartisan vote shelved any chance of bringing forth articles of impeachment against Trump in the near future.
"The president has committed an impeachable offense," Green said on the House floor earlier on Wednesday. "Yesterday, we condemned him for that. Today is our opportunity to punish him."
137 Democrats voted in favor of tabling the resolution compared to just 95 who voted against shelving it. Only one lawmaker, Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., voted present.
Trump tweeted afterward, "The United States House of Representatives has just overwhelmingly voted to kill the Resolution on Impeachment, 332-95-1. This is perhaps the most ridiculous and time consuming project I have ever had to work on."
Green later denied he was playing into the president's hands. "The president, at some point, will be impeached... people are starting to pay attention," the congressman said.
Instead of moving ahead with articles of impeachment, most Democrats have appeared to prefer waiting to see if a stronger case for removal could be developed that would win broader public support, and they're eagerly awaiting next week's scheduled testimony to two House committees by former Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
"With all due respect in the world for him, we have six committees that are working on following the facts in terms of any abuse of power, obstruction of justice and the rest that the president may have engaged in," Pelosi said. "That is the serious path that we're on."
Recent polling has shown majorities opposed impeachment. Even if the House voted to impeach Trump, which would amount to filing formal charges, the Republican-run Senate would be unlikely to remove him from office.
The showdown over Green's resolution also came amid tensions between Pelosi and the same four progressive congresswomen of color whom Trump singled out in a tweet and implored them to "go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how it is done." All four of the women Trump apparently singled out – Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts – are American citizens and three of the four were born in the United States.
The four have waged an increasingly personal clash with Pelosi over how assertively the House should try restraining Trump's ability to curb immigration. But, if anything, Trump's tweets may have eased some of that tension, with Pelosi telling Democrats at a closed-door meeting Tuesday, "We are offended by what he said about our sisters," according to an aide who described the private meeting to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
The freshman lawmakers also have been vocal advocates for Trump’s impeachment.
"Opening an impeachment inquiry is exactly what we must do when the President obstructs justice, advises witnesses to ignore legal subpoenas, & more," Ocasio-Cortez tweeted last month.
The House late Tuesday voted to condemn Trump’s comments after a bizarre floor fight when Pelosi was found to have violated a House rule over decorum.
Despite a lobbying effort by Trump and party leaders for a unified GOP front, four Republicans voted to condemn his remarks: moderate Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, Fred Upton of Michigan, Will Hurd of Texas and Susan Brooks of Indiana, who is retiring. Also backing the measure was Michigan's independent Rep. Justin Amash, who left the GOP this month after becoming the party's sole member of Congress to back a Trump impeachment inquiry.
Fox News' Mike Arroyo, Chad Pergram and The Associated Press contributed to this report.