“There is still no direct evidence of any crime. Disagreement with or intense dislike for a president is not grounds for impeachment.”

By Carly Baldwin, Patch Staff

Rep. Smith was one of two New Jersey congressmen to vote against the impeachment of President Donald Trump Wednesday night.​ (Congressional photo

MIDDLETOWN, NJ — Congressman Chris Smith, who represents Monmouth, Ocean and part of Mercer County in Congress, was one of two New Jersey congressmen to vote against the impeachment of President Donald Trump Wednesday night.

The other Congressman is Rep. Jeff Van Drew, a Democrat from South Jersey, who said he will be switching his party to Republican soon. Until that happens, Smith is the sole Republican congressman representing New Jersey.

“The U.S. Constitution is clear and unambiguous — impeachment of any president is permitted only for treason, bribery, high crimes and misdemeanors,” said Smith in a statement explaining his vote Wednesday night. “Undoing the will of the people expressed in a free and fair election with the proposed articles of impeachment, totally fails to meet the legal standard prescribed by the U.S. Constitution. Despite hearings and a process that was egregiously flawed and unfair, there is still no direct evidence whatsoever of any crime.”

“Disagreement with or intense dislike for this or any other president of the United States is not now — nor should it ever be — grounds for impeachment,” Smith added.

In September, Smith voted to review the initial whistleblower complaint. Every single other member of Congress voted that way. But he always said he did not support the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s impeachment inquiry.

“We must have only one objective: providing the American people the truth,” Smith said back in September. “But I do not support this inquiry that is being initiated by the speaker for impeachment. I want the truth, but in order to initiate an inquiry there has to be the allegation of serious wrongdoing and illegal high crimes and misdemeanors.”

Smith is the congressman for the fourth congressional district, which covers nearly all of Monmouth County, including towns such as Holmdel, part of Middletown, Colts Neck, Rumson, Manalapan, Freehold, Red Bank and Wall Township. The fourth district also reaches into Jackson and Lakewood in Ocean County and Hamilton and Robbinsville in Mercer County, as well as other towns.

Rep. Van Drew said yesterday he voted against impeachment because, 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.”

“My hope is that we are still able to get some work done to help the American people like infrastructure, veteran’s benefits, environmental protections, immigration reform, reducing prescription drug cost and strengthening Social Security,” said Van Drew.

Read online here.