Democratic Rep. Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey, who has long opposed House Democrats’ impeachment effort, discussed switching parties in a meeting with President Donald Trump, an administration official said Saturday. CNN reported that he told his colleagues of his intentions of switching.
The official, who was not authorized to discuss the private conversation and spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed that Van Drew met with Trump in the White House on Friday.
Drew, a longtime state senator serving his first term in Congress, is one of his party’s more endangered lawmakers in next November’s elections. His southern New Jersey district narrowly favored Trump in 2016 and the congressional seat he won in 2018 had been under Republican control for nearly two decades.
The House is set to approve two articles of impeachment against Trump this coming week. Democrats, who hold the majority, expect support from all but a few of their members. No Republicans are expected to join them.
The Republican-controlled Senate is then all but certain to acquit Trump after a trial in January.
Van Drew has argued that the process is likely just to further divide the country and it would be better to let voters decide Trump’s fate in next year’s election.
In the first article of impeachment, Trump is accused of abusing his presidential power by asking Ukraine to investigate his 2020 rival Joe Biden while holding military aid as leverage. In the second article, he’s accused of obstructing Congress by blocking the House’s efforts to investigate his actions.