President Donald J. Trump has made yet another history. He has become the third US President in history to be impeached. The US House of Representatives passed both articles of impeachment: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress in a
party-line vote on Wednesday, December 18, 2019.
The vote was 230 to 197 on the first of two articles of impeachment — abuse of power — with one member voting present. The House then passed the second article — obstruction of Congress — with a vote of 229 to 198, with one member voting present.
The vote was largely along party lines. Every Republican opposed impeachment. The sole independent in the House, Michigan Rep. Justin Amash, voted with Democrats.
Two House Democrats — Rep. Collin Peterson of Minnesota and Rep. Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey — opposed Article 1. A third Democrat, Rep. Jared Golden of Maine, joined Peterson and Van Drew to oppose Article 2. Hawaii Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who is running for president, voted present on both articles.
Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, who along with Six House Committees led the impeachment process, sent a letter to House Democrats Thursday night thanking them “for the outstanding moral courage that has been demonstrated, not only yesterday but every day of this prayerful process.”
“We have defended democracy For The People: honoring the vision of our Founders for a Republic, the sacrifice of our men and women in uniform to defend it and the aspirations of our children to live freely within it,” she wrote.
On the eve of the House impeachment vote, Trump sent a blistering letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi accusing her of “open war on American Democracy.”
The House Judiciary Committee released its full 658-page report , in which the majority calls Trump the “Framers’ worst nightmare.” The Judiciary Committee had approved the articles after a marathon, 14-hour debate.
The day after President Trump was impeached by the House for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, questions continued to swirl about the timing and scope of an anticipated Senate trial regarding his conduct toward Ukraine.
US House leaders suggested a possible delay until they can get a guarantee of a fair trial in the Senate. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), meanwhile, in a floor speech, sharply criticized the House process as rushed and unfair and suggested that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is “too afraid” to transmit “their shoddy work product.”
Impeaching a president is the most consequential thing the Congress can do — other than declaring war. Trump was impeached, because the facts are not in doubt — indeed Trump’s allies in the media and Congress have largely given up disputing them: Trump held up congressionally directed taxpayer funding to strengthen Ukraine’s military against Russia until the new Ukrainian president agreed to do what Trump called a “favor” — announce that Ukraine was investigating Trump’s most likely opponent in the 2020 presidential election, Joe Biden, and his son, who was involved with a Ukrainian gas company. Trump apparently thought that just the announcement of such an investigation would kill Biden’s campaign in its crib.
Republicans blindly defending Trump’s indefensible enlistment of Ukraine’s help to take down Biden and by echoing Trump’s conspiracy theory — originated by Russian agents — that it was Ukraine that hacked the Democratic National Committee’s emails in 2016, not Russia. They also argue that the D.N.C.’s server was shipped off to Ukraine before the F.B.I. could look at it.
Asked how it feels to be impeached, Trump told reporters: “I don’t feel like I’m being impeached because it’s a hoax. It’s a setup. It’s a terrible thing they did.” The president, sitting in the Oval Office with Democrat-turned-Republican Rep. Jeff Van Drew (N.J.), also accused Democrats of “playing games” over whether to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate.
Trump is continuing to push Senate Republicans to hold an impeachment trial so that he can be acquitted of the charges leveled against him by the House, even as Democrats weigh when to formally send over the articles approved.
Pelosi said that she wanted to see what the Senate process would be before submitting the impeachment articles, saying she wants to ensure the trial will be “fair.”
Some Democrats say it doesn’t make sense to send the articles to the Senate because it is almost guaranteed that Trump will be found not guilty by the GOP-controlled chamber, allowing him to crow about the acquittal on the campaign trail.
House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) announced Thursday afternoon that there will be no further House votes until Jan. 7, 2020, prompting applause from Democrats in the chamber.
The announcement means that the House will not approve impeachment managers and send the articles of impeachment to the Senate until at least next month. In a statement after meeting with McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said through a spokesman that Democrats continue to press for the inclusion of more witnesses and documents in a Senate trial.
“Sen. Schumer asked Sen. McConnell to consider Sen. Schumer’s proposal over the holidays because Sen. Schumer and his caucus believe the witnesses and documents are essential to a fair Senate trial,” Schumer spokesman Justin Goodman said.