CHICAGO — The country is grappling with the historic impeachment vote of President Donald Trump by the House of Representatives. The implications stretch from Washington to Chicago.
Trump is just third president in history charged with high crimes and misdemeanors, but on Thursday, he brushed it off.
“We have the best economy in history and if you remember the famous quote it’s all about the economy, stupid. I never believed it was all about the economy, but the economy is a big thing,” he said.
Trump’s trial is set to begin in January where a vote of two-thirds of the Senate is necessary to remove him from office. But Democrats want to delay sending the articles of impeachment to the Senate hoping to gain leverage over the rules.
“The next thing for us will be when we see the process that is set forth in the Senate,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has indicated that he has already made up his mind.
“This particular House of Representatives has let its partisan rage at this particular president create a toxic new precedent that will echo well into the future,” Sen. Mitch McConnell said.
The Illinois congressional delegation voted on impeachment along partisan lines. For two freshman Democrats, their vote carries enormous political risk.
Lauren Underwood of the 14th congressional district narrowly won her seat in 2018. She represents a northwest exurb long held by Republicans. For Underwood, impeachment is complicated.
“It plays into kinda the Republican meme that you’re just a tool of Nancy Pelosi and will go along with whatever she does,” Rick Pearson, Chicago Tribune political reporter, said.
Sean Casten flipped another GOP seat in 2018. Republicans also have their sights set on him. The frontrunner to win the Republican primary is former state Rep. Jeanne Ives, a conservative firebrand.
“Assuming the general election is Ives-Casten, you know what you’re going to get out of that,” Pearson said.
Democrats in reliably blue districts said it was imperative that Congress act.
“This is a president if he is not held accountable will go on to higher crimes and misdemeanors, apparently,” Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL) said.
It’s unclear what the political impact on Republicans candidates will be. If the Senate votes to acquit, Republicans say they do not fear repercussions.