This story will be updated.
AUGUSTA, Maine — U.S. Rep. Jared Golden of Maine’s 2nd District said Tuesday he will vote to impeach President Donald Trump for abusing the power of his office, but not on a second impeachment that charges the Republican president with obstructing a congressional probe.
The announcement ahead of a Tuesday evening call with Maine reporters ended the monthslong speculation on how the freshman Democratic congressman would vote on the issue. He comes from a Republican-leaning district that elected him narrowly in 2018 and backed Trump by 10 percentage points in the 2016 election.
The congressman has worked to draw a line between his October vote in support of the impeachment inquiry and his feelings on whether Trump should be impeached, but he has been hammered by Republicans running against him in the 2020 election. Since House Democrats have enough members to advance the articles to a Senate trial even with Republican opposition, the effect Golden’s vote will be largely on him.
The two articles likely to be advanced by House Democrats on Wednesday charge that Trump abused his power by pressuring the Ukrainian president to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, the leading hopeful for the Democratic nomination to oppose Trump and obstructed Congress by directing officials to not comply with investigations.
In a four-page formal statement to be placed in the congressional record, Golden said the House investigation “clearly” unearthed evidence that Trump and administration officials used the power of the presidency in an attempt to damage his political opponent.
“This action crossed a clear red line, and in my view, there is no doubt this is an impeachable act,” he wrote.
Golden said he was choosing not to support the second article on obstructing Congress because House Democrats had not reached the threshold of “high crimes and misdemeanors” and that there are unanswered questions surrounding the charge.
In October, he said the intent behind Trump’s actions would ultimately determine for him whether the president should be impeached. A few weeks later, he voted to move the inquiry forward, stressing that while he had disagreed with how U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, had launched the inquiry, he believed it was being carried out fairly.
But Golden has also acknowledged that his decision might be seen as unpopular with some of his constituents, where a majority of voters backed the president in 2016. His Democratic counterpart in the Maine delegation, Rep. Chellie Pingree of the reliably liberal 1st District, said last week she would also vote for both articles.
Golden joined 27 Democrats from districts that voted for Trump to commit to voting to impeach the president as of mid-afternoon Tuesday, according to The Washington Post. Only two Democrats — including Rep. Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey, who plans to become a Republican — oppose impeachment.
The congressman has faced mounting pressure to make a decision for months. Republicans and Democrats have rallied outside his Bangor office during the last two weeks. His opponents have been critical of Golden’s approach, often characterizing him as falling in line with Democratic leaders and ignoring the wishes of his constituents.