Rep. Katko joins exodus of GOP lawmakers who voted to impeach Trump

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Rep. John Katko, RN.Y., leaves a House Republican Conference meeting. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call Inc. via Getty Images)

Rep. John Katko, RN.Y., announced he would not run for office, becoming the third Republican to vote to impeach former President Donald Trump and subsequently announce their retirement from Congress.

In a statement posted to his Facebook page on Friday, Katko, 59, said he wanted to spend more time with his family.

“My conscience, my principles, and my commitment to doing the right thing have guided every decision I’ve made as a member of Congress, and they guide my decision today,” Katko said. “It’s how I’ve been able to unite people to solve problems and have been rewarded with resounding victories in every campaign for Congress.”

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He has represented the 24th District, encompassing part of central New York, since winning the seat in 2014, and would have potentially faced a primary challenge against a fellow Republican after new maps were drawn.

Katko follows Representatives Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois in voting to impeach Trump and then subsequently announcing that they will not run for re-election. Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania also announced his retirement after voting to convict Trump during his Senate trial. Trump and his allies have targeted fellow Republican lawmakers who voted for his impeachment, with Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming a priority target. Kinzinger and Cheney are the only two Republicans to serve on the House committee investigating the events of Jan. 6.

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Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy originally asked Katko to negotiate details of a bipartisan committee to investigate the Capitol riot. After Katko, the top Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee, reached a deal with his Democratic counterpart, he was undermined by McCarthy and watched the proposal get killed in the Senate.

Trump celebrated the news in a statement, writing, “Good news, another bites the dust. Katko from upstate New York is gone!

Last January, Katko became the first Republican to say he would vote to impeach Trump for his role in promoting and prolonging violence on Capitol Hill.

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“To allow the President of the United States to incite this inconsequential attack is a direct threat to the future of our democracy,” Katko said in a statement explaining his vote. “For this reason, I cannot sit idly by. I will vote to impeach this president.

“The divide in our country is clearer than ever,” he continued. “I hear my fellow Republicans in their argument that impeachment only further divides our country at a time when we need to move forward. I agree. There needs to be a continuation of government and a transition peace of power. But I also strongly believe that I have to follow the law and the facts and hold this president accountable for his actions.”

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