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House Impeachment Vote Exposes Fractures In GOP

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

And I'm Mary Louise Kelly in Washington, where, inside a Capitol building ringed by razor wire and packed with the National Guard, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to impeach President Trump for a second time.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

A year ago, as President Trump faced that first impeachment vote, he held a rally and boasted about a Republican Party unified behind him.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: And we have tremendous support in the Republican Party like we've never had before.

KELLY: That support has eroded since last week's siege on the U.S. Capitol. The Republican Party is fracturing over the president.

CHANG: Congressman John Katko of New York was the first Republican to say he would vote to impeach. And then last night, the No. 3 House Republican, Liz Cheney, said she would too.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: She says the president of the United States summoned this mob, assembled the mob and lit the flames of this attack.

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LIZ CHENEY: There has never been a greater betrayal by a president of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution. I will vote to impeach the president.

KELLY: Well, a handful of House Republicans followed, but on the floor today, many more said they would oppose impeachment. Republican Jim Jordan called for Cheney's resignation. Here's Ronny Jackson of Texas.

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RONNY JACKSON: It is clear now more than ever that our country needs to come together. And Congress, this Congress, needs to lead by example and begin the process of healing the deep division that exist among us as Americans. The articles before us today will not accomplish that.

CHANG: And then there was House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. He said he would not support impeachment, but notably, he said the president is not blameless. And he called on the House to censure him.

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KEVIN MCCARTHY: The president bears responsibility for Wednesday's attack on Congress by mob rioters. He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding.

KELLY: Ten House Republicans voted with their Democratic colleagues to impeach President Trump. Representative Dan Newhouse of Washington is one of them.

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DAN NEWHOUSE: Last week, there was a domestic threat at the door of the Capitol, and he did nothing to stop it. That is why, with a heavy heart and clear resolve, I will vote yes on these articles of impeachment.

(APPLAUSE)

CHANG: Next, all eyes turn to the U.S. Senate. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's office says the body won't convene before January 19. And McConnell says he has not decided how he will vote.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: McConnell is said to be furious and gunning for the president's purge from the Republican Party. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.