Just two of the 234 Democrats in the House voted "no" on a resolution formalizing the body's impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump on Thursday.
The two lawmakers — Reps. Collin Peterson of Minnesota and Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey — both hail from Republican-leaning districts that went for Trump in 2016.
Peterson "has called the impeachment process futile, unnecessarily divisive and a bad use of Congress' time," the Star Tribune reported this month. He won reelection in 2018 by just over four percentage points, while Trump won in the same district by 30 percentage points in 2016.
After Thursday's vote, he further decried the impeachment inquiry and insisted it wouldn't be "fair" to Trump.
"This impeachment process continues to be hopelessly partisan," Peterson said in a statement. "I have some serious concerns with the way the closed-door depositions were run, and am skeptical that we will have a process that is open, transparent and fair."
Van Drew was first elected to his seat in 2018 — winning his election by eight percentage points. In 2016, Trump won the southern New Jersey district by just over four percentage points in 2016.
"I understand certain things said by the president can make people feel uncomfortable," Van Drew told The Press of Atlantic City. "At the same time, it's also been clear we have a year until an election."
After the vote, Van Drew released a statement arguing that the impeachment inquiry will "further divide the country."
"Without bipartisan support I believe this inquiry will further divide the country tearing it apart at the seams and will ultimately fail in the Senate," he said. "However, now that the vote has taken place and we are moving forward I will be making a judgment call based on all the evidence presented by these investigations."
The resolution's passage sets rules for the inquiry and signals that it will begin to transition into a more public phase. Witnesses are still testifying privately, but this historic development could result in public, televised hearings within a month and possibly a vote on impeachment by the end of the year. Over a dozen witnesses have been interviewed as part of the inquiry so far.
A host of other Democrats who hail from more conservative districts voted to approve the resolution.
Almost every Republican — a total of 194 — voted against the resolution on Thursday. Three GOP House members didn't cast a vote. Independent Rep. Justin Amash, who left the Republican Party earlier this year, also voted "no."
The vote comes after weeks of complaints from Republican lawmakers on the closed-door process.
The White House insisted in a statement released shortly after the vote that Trump "has done nothing wrong" and accused Democrats of conducting "a sham impeachment—a blatantly partisan attempt to destroy the President."
Trump again slammed Congress' impeachment on Thursday, calling it "The Greatest Witch Hunt In American History!"
Last week, a federal judge ruled that the Democratic impeachment investigation had been conducted legally and that a resolution was unnecessary.
John Haltiwanger contributed to this report.