Donald Trump has become the third US president in history to be impeached by the House of Representatives, setting up a trial in the Senate that will
Donald Trump has become the third US president in history to be impeached by the House of Representatives, setting up a trial in the Senate that will decide whether he remains in office or not. Being impeached places Donald Trump alongside only two other presidents in the nation’s history – Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton.
The House voted on two charges – that the president abused his power and that he had obstructed Congress. Nearly all Democrats voted for the charges and every Republican against. No Republicans supported impeachment, although ex-party member Justin Amash, from Michigan, did. The Republicans control the Senate so it is highly unlikely he will be removed from power.
After 10 hours of partisan debate on the merits of the two impeachment charges against President Trump, the House called for votes at about 20:30 local time (01:30 GMT). The first charge is abuse of power, stemming from Mr Trump’s alleged attempt to pressure Ukraine to announce investigations into his Democratic political rival, Joe Biden. It passed by 230 votes to 197, almost completely on party lines. Only two Democrats opposed – New Jersey’s Jeff Van Drew, who is set to leave the party, and Minnesota’s Collin Peterson.
The second charge is obstruction of Congress, because the president allegedly refused to co-operate with the impeachment inquiry, withholding documentary evidence and barring his key aides from giving evidence. It passed by 229-198. Democrat Jared Golden of Maine voted for the first charge but opposed this.
A trial is set to take place in the Senate in the New Year. The Republican Party has a majority there, making it almost impossible that the president will be removed from office when senators cast their votes. Republican Majority Leader. Mitch McConnell last week said that Republican senators would act in “total co-ordination” with the president’s team during the trial, outraging Democrats who pointed out that Senators are obliged to act as impartial jurors.
The White House has released a statement saying that the president was “confident that he will be fully exonerated” in a Senate trial.
How the House voted: The two charges of impeachment
- 230-197: Abuse of power
- 229-198: Obstruction of Congress
During the House debates, Mr Trump tweeted several times, calling the Democratic arguments “ATROCIOUS LIES BY THE RADICAL LEFT” and an “ASSAULT ON THE REPUBLICAN PARTY!!!!”.
“The Democrats are declaring their deep hatred and disdain for the American voter. They’ve been trying to impeach me from day one. They’ve been trying to impeach me from before I ran.”
The president had also made an extraordinary intervention on the eve of Wednesday’s vote, penning a six page letter to Ms Pelosi accusing her of declaring “open war on American democracy”. In the letter, which was published by the White House, the president claimed he had been “deprived of basic Constitutional Due Process from the beginning of this impeachment scam”.