New Hampshire's two members of the U.S. House, Rep. Annie Kuster and Rep. Chris Pappas, voted with nearly all House Democrats to authorize impeachment hearings against President Trump.
The vote for the public hearings, which every Republican opposed, marks the first time the full House voted on the impeachment inquiry.
In a statement, Kuster called it a somber day, but said that the House's action will ensure what she called "a fair and transparent process." Pappas said he takes his oversight responsibilities under the Constitution very seriously and “will continue to closely monitor this process as it moves forward.”
Republicans have complained that House Democrats have relied on closed door hearings to gather information. This resolution authorizes the House Intelligence Committee to hold public hearings and report to the House Judiciary Committee, where President Trump and his counsel will have the right to cross examine witnesses and scrutinize evidence.
Back in New Hampshire, the issue was on the minds of some local voters.
James Rouillard of Wolfeboro said he tuned into the House’s floor debate before going to a rally for Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders in Concord Thursday morning.
“I was impressed by the solemnity of it. And I was just encouraged, because this is you know the rule of law — our constitution — which is above everybody, it’s above all of us,” Rouillard said. “I’m very encouraged by it.”
While Rouillard said he used to fall into the camp of voters wanting the impeachment inquiry to happen much sooner, he now understands why House Democratic leaders waited until now to initiate the formal inquiry.
“I’m impressed with Speaker Pelosi, because she seemed to be a very deliberate woman in her thinking process,” he said. “And I think her attention is simply to the rule of law.”
Dave Stevenson, a Hudson resident who attended the same Sanders rally outside the New Hampshire State House, took a more tentative view of Democrats’ impeachment inquiry.
“If they're gonna swing, they cannot miss,” Stevenson said. “If they're going to go through all this charade, you better make sure you get him — 'cause he'll just come back stronger.”
Thursday's vote in Congress was not on whether the president should be impeached, but established rules for how the impeachment investigation will proceed.