Gianforte votes against Trump impeachment probe; Tester calls for facts

Rep. Greg Gianforte waives to the crowd during a campaign rally with President Donald Trump at Missoula International Airport in 2018. Gianforte voted against an impeachment investigation of Trump on Thursday. (Martin Kidston/Missoula Current)

Montana’s only member of the U.S. House of Representatives stood firm with his Republican colleagues Thursday in voting against an impeachment probe of President Donald Trump.

The House voted 232-196 in favor of the probe and mostly along party lines. Two Democrats up for reelection in swing districts sided with Republicans, as did Rep. Greg Gianforte.

“I voted today with Republicans and Democrats to oppose Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff’s partisan efforts to impeach President Trump,” Gianforte said in a statement after Thursday’s key vote.

“Pelosi and Schiff continue their sham process to overturn the results of the 2016 election. The American people deserve to know what Pelosi and Schiff are doing behind closed doors, but their resolution does nothing to guarantee transparency, make transcripts available, or allow the president to defend himself.”

With Thursday’s vote, Trump will become the fourth president in U.S. history to face an impeachment investigation. All three prior cases resulted in impeachment, including former President Bill Clinton.

Thursday’s resolution sets the stage for a public inquiry, and it also sets members of the Senate on notice. Sen. Jon Tester said a timeline hasn’t been set.

“I don’t know what point in time it will come over in the senate,” Tester said Thursday. “This is an important issue and we’ve got to get to the bottom and get all the facts.”

If it does reach the Senate, Tester said it will reflect a jury with the chief justice of the Supreme Court presiding. Senators will serve as the jury, listening to the case.

“We need to get a full understanding of what’s going on,” Tester said. “As I told some of the media folks here – listen to what’s going on, don’t play political games, and do what’s best for the country. I just don’t know when it’s going to come up in the Senate.”