Ilhan Omar calls Trump a "tyrant" as she voted to impeach him

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WASHINGTON, US - Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Democrat from Minneapolis, called President Donald Trump a "tyrant" as she voted to impeach him Wednesday for the second time.

"For years we have been asked to turn a blind eye to the criminality, corruption, and blatant disregard for the rule of law from this tyrant in the White House," Omar said in a House floor speech during the impeachment debate.

For Rep. Jim Hagedorn, a Republican who represents southern Minnesota, impeaching Trump amounts to "further dividing an already splintered nation" — even though Hagedorn has never rejected the president's false claims of a rigged election.

"Democrats have prosecuted another unwarranted and politically motivated impeachment," Hagedorn said in a statement released after the House vote.

Their sentiments reflect the party-line split in Minnesota's delegation Wednesday in the historic second vote to impeach Trump for his role in inciting a violent attack by his supporters last week on the U.S. Capitol.

The final House vote was 232-197 to impeach Trump, with all Democrats joined by 10 Republicans. Minnesota's delegation, with four Democrats and four Republicans, split along party lines.

Omar was the only Minnesota lawmaker to speak during the House debate that ran several hours. In brief remarks, she said Trump must be impeached and removed from office for "directly and specifically" inciting "a violent attempt to interrupt our democracy."

Omar was joined by fellow Democratic Reps. Betty McCollum, Angie Craig, and Dean Phillips. Voting against impeachment was Hagedorn along with Reps. Tom Emmer, Pete Stauber, and Michelle Fisch­bach.

"With fewer than seven days remaining in this administration, we should be focused on moving forward and getting back to work on behalf of the American people," Fischbach said in a statement released after the House vote.

Fischbach is the newest member of the Minnesota delegation, having defeated longtime Democratic Rep. Collin Peterson in the state's Seventh Congressional District last November.

In December 2019, Peterson was one of only two House Democrats to vote against impeaching Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. But that vote wasn't enough to save Peterson in the strongly pro-Trump western Minnesota district.

In the days leading up to Wednesday's impeachment vote, several Minnesota Republicans cited concerns that impeaching Trump in his final days in office could further inflame tensions — though they all to one degree or another declined for weeks to recognize President-elect Joe Biden's victory or push back on Trump's unsupported claims of a rigged election.

Hagedorn said Democrats have been looking for reasons to impeach Trump since before he even took office four years ago, and said the vote Wednesday was "subjecting the American people to yet another partisan battle."

In a virtual news conference Wednesday, Phillips rejected the idea that it was Democrats who were undermining unity.

"Without consequences, without the rule of law, we have no America," Phillips said. Of his Republican colleagues who opposed impeachment, he said: "If they come to a different conclusion than I, that will be recorded by history. I take no exception to oppose opinions, only to the corruption of principles. What I'm seeing is a corruption of principles."

McCollum played a unique role in Wednesday's House impeachment proceedings, chosen by Speaker Nancy Pelosi to preside over the debate from the rostrum. For several hours, McCollum moved the fraught debate along in no-nonsense fashion as she sternly enforced time limits — never letting any of the dozens of lawmakers speak for even a few seconds longer than allotted.

"The debate of such a serious matter was conducted fairly and with a decorum that I hope will guide this legislative body for the rest of the 117th Congress," McCollum said.

It's not yet clear when the Senate will convene a trial to respond to the House's impeachment vote. Minnesota's two Democratic senators, Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith, both voted to remove Trump last year following House impeachment, and both have said since last week's Capitol attack that he no longer deserves to be in office.

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