U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, in office since 1996, has been on the front lines of history.
In 1998, the Wisconsin Democrat had to vote on an impeachment inquiry into President Bill Clinton, a Democrat.
This time around, Kind faced a vote on the impeachment investigation into President Donald Trump, a Republican.
Partisan politics in Washington has changed dramatically in the two decades between the votes, with today’s open warfare fueled by a divide among the public that plays out every day on TV and social media.
Kind represents a district covering the western part of the state that Trump won by 4 percentage points in 2016 over Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Party lines aside, Kind says he has a one-of-a-kind distinction in Congress.
"I am the only member of Congress that voted for both inquiries, the Clinton inquiry and now the Trump inquiry," Kind said on WISN-TV’s "UpFront" program.
Is that true?
It’s been more than 20 years since Clinton became the second president to be impeached. The first was Andrew Johnson in 1868.
After a nearly five-year investigation led by independent prosecutor Ken Starr, Clinton was ultimately impeached by the Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice. But the effort did not muster enough votes from the Senate to remove Clinton from office.
In all, 31 Democrats voted in favor of a Republican resolution to launch a formal impeachment inquiry of Clinton.
Kind -- who was starting his second term in Congress at the time -- was one of them.
Ultimately, four articles of impeachment were brought against Clinton, including two perjury charges, one charge of abuse of power and one of obstruction of justice.
Kind voted against all of the articles of impeachment, and the House eventually voted to impeach on obstruction of justice and a single perjury charge.
The perjury charge passed the House with a 228-206 vote, while the charge for obstruction of justice passed with a 221-212 vote.
The Senate followed with a 50-50 split on the accusation that Clinton obstructed justice, but dismissed the charge of perjury 55-45.
Let’s fast forward to today.
The case against Trump
In October 2019, House Democrats voted 232-196 -- a vote that fell largely on party lines -- to pursue an impeachment inquiry into Trump.
The investigation revolves around accusations that Trump withheld military aid to Ukraine unless the country agreed to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, a chief Trump rival in the 2020 presidential race.
Kind has been less vocal on Trump and the impeachment process than his Democratic counterparts Gwen Moore of Milwaukee and Mark Pocan of Madison.
Kind has been open about his support for investigating Trump, but told Wisconsin Public Radio in an interview that aired Oct. 17, 2019 that impeachment and removal from office should be a "last resort."
At the time, Kind called the allegations "extremely serious" but said he wanted to gather all the facts before deciding whether impeachment was the proper path forward.
He also referred to the actions involved in the allegation as unlawful, unpatriotic and unconstitutional.
In all, 55 current members of the House -- 40 Democrats, 15 Republicans -- were also in office during the time the House voted to start an impeachment inquiry into Clinton.
Our research shows Kind, indeed, was the only one to vote for both.
Kind said he was "the only member of Congress that voted for both inquiries -- the Clinton inquiry and now the Trump inquiry."
We found Kind did vote yes to both inquiries and of the 55 members of the Congress who took part in both votes, he is an outlier.
We rate his claim True.
UPFRONT, ‘Upfront’ recap: Impeachment inquiry looks ‘more and more problematic’ for Trump, U.S. Rep says, Nov. 17, 2019
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Wisconsin Democrat Ron Kind, tight-lipped so far, moves closer to supporting Trump impeachment, Oct. 30, 2019
Appleton Post Crescent, 20 years ago, Wisconsin lawmakers voted on Bill Clinton’s impeachment. Could Donald Trump face a similar fate? Dec. 19, 2018
Washington Post, Partisan lines have hardened in the 21 years since the last impeachment vote, Nov. 1, 2019
CNN Archives, 31 Democrats defect, support impeachment inquiry, Oct. 8, 1998
New York Times, How Democrats and Republicans voted on Trump impeachment rules, oct. 31, 2019
Wisconsin Public Radio, Ron Kind: Impeachment should be ‘last resort,’ Oct. 17, 2019
Congressional archives, Final Vote results for Roll Call 498, Oct. 8, 1998
Business Insider, 71 Current members of Congress were there for the Clinton impeachment inquiry. Here’s where they stand on impeaching Trump., Sept. 26, 2019
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