Rep. French Hill: Why I voted NO on impeaching the president

WASHINGTON, D.C. —Today, Congressmen French Hill (AR-02) released the following statement after voting against two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump:

I know that there are some Americans who disagree with the president–some on style, some on substance, and for some, both. With that said, as in any human endeavor, over the course of two centuries a terrific number of American citizens have voiced their vigorous opposition and protested many of our nation’s chief executives.

However, the power of impeachment is a solemn one. This power is vested in the legislative branch to remove the nationally elected leader of our beloved country for treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors. This power is not to be used simply as a tool to harass a president of the opposite party. Unfortunately, history tells us that down through the years, it has. 

New York Times reporter Peter Baker provides an important historical context of the many attempts to impeach past American presidents HERE. Baker documents that one out of every four occupants of the White House has faced formal accusations of high crimes and misdemeanors from lawmakers in Congress.

Today's impeachment vote in the House is the latest effort to remove President Trump from office and smear his candidacy in 2020. Before the July 25th phone call with Ukrainian President Zelensky ever took place, 103 out of 233 House Democrats had already voted to impeach President Trump for everything from criticizing NFL players to criticizing members of "the Squad." 

Likewise, 17 of the 24 Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee voted for at least one of three House impeachment Resolutions brought to the floor by Texas Democrat Congressman Al Green, since President Trump was first elected to office. 

In the end, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has violated the well-stated criteria she, herself, established this past March for impeachment:

“Impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless there’s something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don’t think we should go down that path because it divides the country.”
- Speaker Pelosi,
Washington Post,March 11, 2019

The case for impeachment that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff has concocted is not overwhelming and not supported by even the selected leaks and one-sided testimony. 

Chairman Schiff argues that in the July 25th phone call with the Ukrainian President Zelensky, President Trump abused his power by interfering in the 2020 election and then obstructed Congress during its impeachment inquiry.

As background, I've read the public testimony, I’ve read the Schiff report, and I’ve read the Republican minority rebuttal. I've also read the “Support the Sovereignty, Integrity, Democracy and Economic Stability of Ukraine Act” signed into law in 2014 by President Obama, which ordered the Secretary of State and the Attorney General to “identify, secure, and recover assets linked to acts of corruption by Victor Yanukovych, members of his family, or other former or current officials of the government of Ukraine or their accomplices…."

I reviewed the articles of impeachment for both President Nixon and President Clinton and reviewed the Congressional process, under which both inquiries were pursued. In addition to unsubstantiated charges brought by Chairman Schiff and House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, Speaker Pelosi has presided over an unfair process.

At the conclusion of the House Judiciary Committee's debate regarding the articles of impeachment, the Congress concluded where we began in September:

1.) The House majority so disagrees with President Trump that they have convinced themselves that only impeachment is the proper punishment–despite failing the “Pelosi Test” she established in March.

2.) The following facts remain regarding the congratulatory phone call between President Trump and the recently elected Ukrainian reformer, President Zelensky, on July 25th:

  • The July 25 call summary—the best evidence of the conversation—shows no conditionality or evidence of pressure.
  • President Zelensky and President Trump have both said there was no pressure on the call.
  • The Ukrainian government was not aware of a hold on U.S. security assistance at the time of the July 25th phone call.
  • President Trump met with President Zelensky and U.S. security assistance was delivered to Ukraine in September 2019—without Ukraine investigating President Trump’s political rivals.

I believe that reasonable people can disagree. In my view, Speaker Pelosi should have directed the House Foreign Affairs Committee to conduct vigorous oversight hearings on the Trump Administration's foreign policy towards Ukraine. This would have been the better course of action to explore partisan policy disagreements as well as those voiced by career State Department officials.

Keep In Touch

Please sign up below to receive my weekly newsletter and get the latest news and updates directly to your inbox.