Cline votes against article of impeachment; says legal standard for incitement of violence has not been met
HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) — With two minutes given to speak on the the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, Republican Congressman Ben Cline delivered remarks before fellow lawmakers who eventually voted in majority of impeaching President Donald Trump.
President Trump faced a single charge “incitement of insurrection” after a violent siege of the Capitol.
A handful of Republicans supported impeachment along with the Democrats, however, Cline voted no to impeachment, saying there was no proven incitement to violence.
Cline, who represents most of the Shenandoah Valley, spoke about the violence on Capitol Hill on the House floor.
“A violent mob including many with the most hostile intentions broke past security barriers and unleashed destruction and chaos in the Capitol. When it was over, six individuals were dead including two Capitol police officers,” Cline said. “I’ve always supported citizens to peacefully assemble but those who breach the Capitol and assaulted and killed Capitol police should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. If their intent was to stop the constitutional requirement of this body to count electoral votes, they should be charged and prosecuted for insurrection in the government.”
Cline went on to say “we are a nation of laws and not of men” and said the legal standard for incitement of violence has not been met.
“We are rushing through an impeachment without all of the facts and evidence, and without due process. We don’t know what kind of information the offenders have, what evidence will come out through their trials whether it bolsters the majority’s claims or the minority’s views, whether it implicates other individuals groups or other officials in the attack on this hallowed institution. We just don’t know and that’s why we must treat the power of impeachment and our responsibilities as holders of this power with the seriousness and solemnity it deserves,” Cline said.
He told his colleagues to gather the evidence and make informed decisions together by saying impeaching the president this soon will only fuel the political divide among citizens.
“Let us work together. Both President Trump and President-elect Joe Biden have called for a peaceful transition of power,” Cline said.
On Tuesday, January 5, Cline announced he would support objections to the Electoral College certification process. Following the violence on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, January 6, Cline condemned the actions of those who breached the Capitol and assaulted law enforcement. Soon after, protestors gathered outside of his Staunton office calling on him to resign.
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