Congressional Candidate Rick Olson (MN2) Breaks Party Ranks

Statement on Impeachment Vote in the U.S. House of Representatives

Rick Olson, Republican Candidate for Congress, MN District 2
For more info: 320-248-9933,,
Sunday, December 15, 2019 – For immediate Release

This morning a Star Tribune reporter informed me that Angie Craig had decided to vote “yes” next week on the motion in the U.S. House of Representatives to impeach President Trump, and asked me if I were in her shoes, how would I vote.

When I took office as a State Representative in Michigan in 2011, I swore an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution. That oath is still binding today.

I understand the Founding Fathers viewed the impeachment process as very similar to the process in a criminal court. The prosecution presents evidence in a preliminary hearing. If the judge hears sufficient evidence to believe a crime has been committed, taking the evidence as true on its face in the absence of any defense from the defendant, then the defendant is bound over for trial. At the trial, the defendant is given the opportunity to present evidence and cross examine the witnesses brought by the prosecution. If the jury believes the prosecution has proven the case against the defendant beyond a reasonable doubt, the jury may convict the defendant.

In this impeachment process, the House stands in the role of the judge in a preliminary hearing, has heard evidence and has heard explanations of the law. The members are duty bound to decide whether there is a prima facie case of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The Founding Fathers expected the members of the House to objectively cast their votes. With the President choosing not to present any evidence (if fact, prohibiting documents from being produced and witnesses from testifying that the House Committees wanted), the only evidence on the record is for a vote “yes”.

Thus, Angie Craig deciding to vote “yes” is no surprise. I also expected that as she has consistently voted with her Democrat caucus despite claiming to be “bipartisan” and “a moderate”. However, in this case I do not condemn her for this vote, as if I were in her shoes, I would feel I would also have to vote “yes” to comply with my oath to uphold the Constitution. Even Fox News’ constitutional law Judge Andrew Napolitano has said there is “enough evidence to justify about three or four Articles of Impeachment” and that “he would certainly vote to impeach President Trump”.

If the House votes to impeach the President next week as expected, the President will have the trial he says he wants in the Senate as the Senate in its role as jury decides whether to convict and remove the President – if Republican Senator McConnell will allow him to present witnesses.

Now others who have not sworn to uphold the Constitution may be free to differ in their opinions. But, one of the reasons I am running for Congress is that I believe that the limits of power and the separation and balance of power between the executive, legislative and judicial branches have been so greatly eroded that the Founding Fathers would not recognize the government we have today. It would be hypocritical for me to vote “no”, just because it would be more comfortable and convenient politically while I seek the Republican party endorsement.

While no one wants to be in position to cast a vote like this, this is not a hard decision, despite the anguish that Angie Craig tries to project. It is only hard if you are worried about how it will look politically.

I could have tried to evade the reporter’s questions, but it is my hope that courage in one’s convictions and honesty are still regarded as virtues in today’s rancorous politics.


  1. I understand your perspective on the impeachment, but disagree with the rational. Your belief of upholding the constitution by voting for impeachment is actually catering to a partisan circus based on very little evidence to try to remove a president due to grudge held by an opposing political party over the past presidential election cycle. The whole case for impeachment is based on a phone call threatening to withhold foreign aid to a country. "Foreign Aid" to a country is not a constitutional obligation . This is more like The House Democrats manipulating the Constitution, not upholding it. Would you send the articles of impeachment to the US Senate right away or withhold the articles until you got your way in the trial procedures? I am trying to find out if your are for a true process or just fell for a partisan political sham?

  2. Mr Olson as a hard working activist and long time military person that has taken the oath to defend the constitution many times I resent the premise that those that disagree with you on this are some how not supporting the Constitution. Your position makes it seems as if every Republican in congress somehow is less concerned about the constitution then the party and that is not only offensive but pandering. While I have met and spoken to you several times at events I had not heard anything that would make me want to support you but this condescending attitude furthers my distrust in you as someone being able to work with the Republicans in Congress. The amount of daylight between you and Angie Craig is so small I am not sure where you actually differ. Not only will I be working hard to block your endorsement but will actively looking for a solid conservative to fill the seat and not a pandering Michigan politician we know nothing about to represent us in Minnesota.


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