Schneider: Proceed with caution before sending impeachment to Senate
Some caution is warranted before putting the impeachment process in the hands of the United States Senate for a trial, Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Deerfield) said Thursday, one day after voting to impeach President Donald Trump.
Schneider, along with other members of Congress who represent portions of Lake County -- Reps. Sean Casten (D, Downers Grove) and Lauren Underwood (D, Naperville) -- voted in favor of the two articles of impeachment charging President Donald Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress Wednesday.
Though Schneider did not offer an opinion of the political wisdom of moving deliberately or quickly, he thinks House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) needs to have a better idea of how the Senate would proceed before deciding the next move. Pelosi is demanding more details about Senate procedure before sending the matter for trial.
Schneider said knowing whether witnesses will offer testimony or mainly make arguments is critical before Pelosi chooses which House members will be appointed managers, which act as prosecutors in the Senate trial.
“Different members have different skill sets,” Schneider said. “If there are going to be witnesses, you need someone with experience questioning witnesses and cross-examining them. If that’s not what it’s going to be you need something else.”
Vernon Township Trustee Adam Broad of Buffalo Grove, who is running against Schneider in the March 17 Democratic primary for the 10th District seat, thinks the charges against Trump should have been much more extensive.
“I was surprised about the narrow scope of the charges against him,” Broad said. “There were so many abuses, and they’re all very serious. This is just a small part of what’s wrong with the administration.”
The winner of the primary will face Republican Valerie Ramirez Mukherjee of Winnetka in the Nov. 3 general election. Ramirez Mukherjee considers impeachment a mistake. She sees it as the culmination of the growing partisan divide in the country.
Ramirez Mukherjee said with no chance of the Senate convicting Trump, the members of the House should spend their time working on issues that can be achieved.
“All of this really worries me. When I talk to people they’re saying they’ve had enough,” Ramirez Mukherjee said. “They’ve voted Democratic before and they’re ready to vote for a Republican.”
Casten, who represents the 6th Congressional District, said he voted for both articles of impeachment because Trump’s abuses of power were too great.
“These abuses of power are exactly what President Trump committed when he withheld military aid to an ally to pressure a foreign government to investigate a political rival, and then systematically obstructed Congress’ ability to learn the truth of his actions,” Casten said.
One of Casten’s potential general election opponents, former state Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton), said the only reason Casten wants to impeach Trump is because he does not want him on the ballot in November. She offers a different remedy.
“It is perfectly understandable that Democrats, and even some Republicans, don’t like President Trump and were unhappy he won in 2016,” Ives said in a news release. “The remedy for that is the next election, not the nuclear option.”
Underwood, who represents the 14th Congressional District, said she voted for impeachment because of comments from her constituents and the abuse of power she saw in the president’s actions.
Naperville Sun reporter Erin Hegarty contributed.