WASHINGTON - As the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump moves to a new phase, the region's congressmen couldn't be more divided on the issue.
Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Madison, who represents Beloit, said Wednesday it's likely a formal vote on articles of impeachment could come by the end of the year.
"I think things are moving pretty swiftly," Pocan said. "We will see where the (House) Judiciary Committee will take this."
Rep. Bryan Steil, R-Janesville, said he continues to oppose the ongoing impeachment inquiry.
"The current partisan impeachment inquiry is a political circus and getting in the way of the Congress doing its job on behalf of the American people," Steil said.
Steil said instead Congress should focus on "working to address the rising cost of prescription drugs, securing the border, and passing the United States Mexico Canada trade agreement."
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., asked the Judiciary Committee on Thursday to proceed with drafting articles of impeachment against Trump. Articles to be considered include abuse of power, obstruction of justice and obstruction of Congress.
On Tuesday, Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee released a 300-page report that could lay the groundwork for potential impeachment proceedings. This week's developments signal the next step in the process before Judiciary decides on drafting articles of impeachment.
The report claims Trump misused his presidential powers for political gain seeking foreign interference in the U.S. election process when he allegedly asked the Ukrainian president on July 25 to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and allegedly withheld military aid to Ukraine.
Republicans have continually defended Trump, most recently releasing a 123-page rebuttal report ahead of the Democrat report, seemingly further splitting party divides.
"I think in general it's pretty clear we have a motive, a crime, a confession and evidence," Pocan said. "The report is not a political spin on what happened. It is based on testimony of Trump appointees and U.S. State Department staff saying the same thing: There were months of activity to pressure the Ukrainian government for personal political gain."
In Wisconsin, 40% of registered voters support impeachment while 53% are opposed to voting Trump out of office, according to a Marquette University Law School poll. In November, the figures rested at 44% for impeachment and 51% against, according to poll data.
The figures in Wisconsin are below the national average, with 48.9% of voters supporting impeachment and 43.9% opposing the process, according to aggregated polling data compiled by Real Clear Politics.
If the House votes to impeach Trump, he would be the fourth president in the country's history to face such action. But that doesn't mean he would be removed from office by the GOP-controlled Senate.
Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., said Wednesday she continues to support the impeachment inquiry, noting the House report "presents evidence that (Trump) put his own political interests ahead of our national security and the integrity of our American elections."
"If the House votes to send articles of impeachment to the Senate, then every senator will take an oath to do impartial justice," Baldwin said. "I take that oath seriously and my judgment will be guided by my responsibility to support and defend the Constitution."
Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., did not respond to requests for comment as of press time.