Washington Reps. Jaime Herrera Beutler and Dan Newhouse, two of the 10 Republican representatives who voted to impeach Donald Trump in the wake of the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, both went even further than previously known in pushing to have Trump removed, a new book reports.
Newhouse, in a meeting of House Republicans shortly after the attack and shortly before the impeachment vote, raised the idea of invoking the 25th Amendment, which would allow a majority of Trump’s Cabinet to vote to remove him from office.
And Herrera Beutler, in the same meeting, suggested that Republican leaders in the House and Senate ask Trump to resign. Herrera Beutler would later curse out her own party’s leaders for their handling of the fallout of the impeachment vote.
The revelations, from the book “This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden, and the Battle for America’s Future” by two New York Times reporters, don’t conflict with anything the representatives have said publicly.
Both, after all, were among the small minority of their party who voted to impeach Trump. And both now face potentially difficult reelection campaigns, as they’re attacked for their votes by far-right Republicans, including some who claim falsely that Trump won the 2020 election.
Revelations from the book — due for public release Tuesday — have already jolted the national political conversation.
It disclosed that House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., had privately told colleagues during a Jan. 10, 2021, House leadership call that he would urge Trump to resign. After McCarthy denied that account, The New York Times posted a recording of his conversation that confirmed the reporting.
The book describes a virtual meeting of House Republicans on Jan. 11 with the caucus at an impasse and no plan from McCarthy. Despite his comments a day earlier, he left it to others to suggest possible actions to hold Trump accountable.
Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., who emerged as the most prominent congressional Republican to criticize Trump’s actions, pushed for the caucus to support impeachment.
Newhouse, R-Sunnyside, then pointed out that no one in the virtual meeting had yet discussed “invoking the 25th Amendment,” which allows a majority of the Cabinet to remove the president.
Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground, then proposed another option for removing Trump from office.
“I think another way out that we should consider as a conference,” she is quoted as saying, “is asking our own leadership to join with the Republican leadership in the Senate and asking this president to resign.”
Those quotations were based on a “firsthand” account, said Jonathan Martin, a New York Times reporter who co-wrote the book with fellow reporter Alexander Burns, in an email. In an authors’ note, Martin and Burns wrote that quotes in the book were taken from transcripts, interviews or recordings.
Craig Wheeler, a Herrera Beutler spokesperson, said Monday that her office doesn’t comment on what is said at private caucus meetings.
Newhouse did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.
Ultimately the Jan. 11 meeting of House Republicans ended without a consensus. Two days later, the House impeached Trump for a second time, with Herrera Beutler and Newhouse joining eight other Republicans and every Democrat in voting to impeach.
The Washington State Republican Party’s central committee voted 111-2 to condemn Herrera-Beutler and Newhouse for their impeachment votes.
As the Senate was considering the impeachment charges, Herrera Beutler submitted a written statement as evidence, describing a call between McCarthy and Trump during the attack on the Capitol.
She wrote of the call: “According to McCarthy, the president said: ‘Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are.’”
And she called on other Republicans to speak up about what they knew: “To the patriots who were standing next to the former president as these conversations were happening, or even to the former vice president: if you have something to add here, now would be the time.”
The impeachment vote would trigger more angst for House Republicans, with the caucus riven between the few who chose to hold Trump accountable and the far greater number who were angry about the push for accountability.
They met for another meeting on Feb. 3, 2021, to consider whether Cheney should be punished for her impeachment vote and advocacy. The House Republicans ultimately removed from her leadership post as conference chair.
At the same time, House Democrats were moving to strip Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., of her committee assignments for violent rhetoric; her prior embrace of the QAnon conspiracy theory; and racist, Islamophobic and antisemitic comments.
Greene, in a campaign ad, showed herself holding a gun next to pictures of three Democratic congresswomen, calling herself their “worst nightmare.”
At the meeting, McCarthy defended both Cheney and Greene, saying he wanted Cheney to remain in leadership and that Greene had “disavowed” her previous comments.
Herrera Beutler wasn’t the only Republican in the room to take offense, but she was among the most forceful in her response, according to the new book.
“Marjorie Taylor Greene is not the moral equivalent of Liz Cheney,” she’s quoted as saying. “Liz is standing up here, standing up to the most powerful man in the world and her entire leadership team, and you [expletive] are making her the same as Marjorie Taylor Greene.”
Cheney, ultimately, was ousted from Republican leadership for her continued criticism of Trump. Herrera Beutler voted to keep her in leadership.