The United States House of Representatives on Wednesday night, impeached President Donald Trump after passing both articles of impeachment: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
President Trump has become the third president in the country’s history to be impeached.
The first two were Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton, neither of whom was ultimately removed from office by the Senate — just as the Republican majority in the current Senate is unlikely remove Trump.
The impeachment inquiry against Trump was initiated by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on September 24, 2019 after a whistleblower alleged that Trump may have abused the power by withholding military aid as a means of pressuring newly elected president of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky to perform two favors: to pursue investigations of Joe Biden and his son Hunter and to investigate a conspiracy theory that Ukraine, not Russia, was behind interference in the 2016 presidential election.
More than a week after Trump had put a hold on the previously approved military aid, he made the aforementioned requests in a July 25 phone call with the Ukrainian president, which the whistleblower alleged was intended to help Trump’s reelection bid.
The House which is controlled by the opposition Democratic Party voted almost entirely along party lines, 230-197 to charge Trump with abuse of power and 229-198 to charge him with obstruction of Congress. Only two Democrats voted against both articles, Reps. Collin Peterson of Minnesota and Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey, who is expected to soon switch parties. A third, Rep. Jared Golden of Maine, voted for one impeachment article. Republican-turned independent Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan voted to impeach Trump on both counts. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination, voted present for both articles.
This followed a six-hour partisan debate over impeachment. Democrats and Republicans traded passionate arguments for why they were voting for or against impeachment.
The impeachment doesn’t, however, mean that Trump will be removed from office as only the US senate has power to remove a president.
The vote will now shift to the Republican controlled senate where a trial is expected in January. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told Republican senators at a policy lunch Tuesday that he will announce by the end of the week the date for the start of the Senate trial, according to sources. The Senate will decide whether or not to convict Trump and remove him from office.
Trump enjoys overwhelming support of his party, the Republican Party which controls the senate and they are likely to acquit him.
The US Senate has 100 senators, out of which 53 are Republicans, 45 Democrats and 2 Independents.