SHERIDAN — The U.S. House of Representative’s decision to impeach U.S. President Donald Trump drew fierce criticism from members of Wyoming’s U.S. Congressional delegation this week. While Democratic members of the House claimed the hearings produced “incontrovertible evidence” that the president abused the powers of his office, Wyoming’s delegates described the House’s impeachment vote as a partisan attack against Trump that will ultimately prove futile.
In a phone conference with Wyoming press members Thursday, Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyoming, called House Democrats’ decision to approve the articles of impeachment “reckless and irresponsible,” and set an alarming precedent.
“I think it’s dangerous for the country if you create a situation where one party has control of the White House and another party has control of the House of Representatives, impeachment will be done on a partisan basis,” Cheney said.
The House approved two articles of impeachment against Trump Wednesday in a vote that largely adhered to party lines. Two Democratic representatives joined House Republicans in opposition to an article of impeachment for abuse of power, which passed the House with a 230 to 197 vote, and three Democrats opposed an article charging Trump with obstruction of justice, which passed 229 to 198.
The vote came after weeks of hearings during which members of the House Intelligence Committee sought to determine whether Trump used his office to pressure Ukrainian officials into investigating political rivals. Democrats came out of those hearings convinced the president’s actions constituted corruption.
Cheney, meanwhile, said the hearings proved nothing.
“Even though they completely stacked the deck in their favor, (the Democrats) were unable to prove their case and they were unable to present any direct evidence of any impeachable offense,” Cheney said.
The contrast between Republican and Democratic lawmakers’ reaction to the House’s decision highlights a sharp divide over the basic facts of the case.
U.S. Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyoming, issued a statement this week that joined Cheney in calling the impeachment a partisan attack, but added that he does not expect it will go anywhere.
Having passed in the House, the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate will hold a trial on the articles of impeachment that will determine whether President Trump is convicted of the charges and removed from office or acquitted, freeing him from the charges. Barrasso, in his statement, said he expects the trial will be resolved quickly in Trump’s favor.
“Senate Republicans are ready to proceed to trial,” Barrasso said. “We will then get back to work and focus on policy issues important to the American people.”
Late Wednesday, however, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced she may delay sending the articles of impeachment to the Senate, effectively postponing the trial, until she receives assurances that Senate Republicans will not skew the proceedings in the president’s favor.
Cheney was highly critical of Pelosi’s announcement during the conference Thursday, claiming it contradicted the Democrats claims that Congress needed to take urgent action against the president.
Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyoming, has not commented on the impeachment proceedings and his office did not respond to a request for comment Thursday.