President Donald Trump has been impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday 18th December 2019, becoming only the third American chief executive to be formally charged under the Constitution’s ultimate remedy for high crimes and misdemeanours, the Associated Press report.
According to the report, Trump was impeached in an historic vote split along party lines, much the way it has divided the nation, over a charge that the 45th president abused the power of his office by enlisting a foreign government to investigate a political rival ahead of the 2020 election. The House then approved a second charge, that he obstructed Congress in its investigation.
The articles of impeachment, the political equivalent of an indictment, now go to the Senate for trial. If Trump is acquitted by the Republican-led chamber, as expected, he still would have to run for reelection carrying the enduring stain of impeachment on his purposely disruptive presidency.
“The president is impeached,” Pelosi declared after the vote. She called it “great day for the Constitution of the United States, a sad one for America that the president’s reckless activities necessitated us having to introduce articles of impeachment.”
Trump, who began Wednesday tweeting his anger at the proceedings, pumped his fist before an evening campaign rally in Battle Creek, Michigan, boasting of “tremendous support” in the Republican Party.
“By the way,” he told the crowd, “it doesn’t feel like I’m being impeached.”
The mood in the House chamber shifted throughout the day as the lawmakers pushed toward the vote. Democrats spun lofty speeches, framing impeachment as what many said was their duty to protect the Constitution and uphold the nation’s system of checks and balances. Republicans mocked and jeered the proceedings, as they stood by their party’s leader, who has frequently tested the bounds of civic norms.
No Republicans voted for impeachment, and Democrats had only slight defections on their side. The votes for impeachment were 230-197-1 on the first charge, 229-198-1 on the second. To mark the moment, voting was conducted manually with ballots.
While Democrats had the majority in the House to impeach Trump, a vote of two-thirds is necessary for conviction in the Republican-controlled Senate. The trial is expected to begin in January, but Pelosi was noncommittal about sending the House articles over, leaving the start date uncertain. Senate leaders are expecting to negotiate details of the trial, but Democrats are criticizing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for saying he won’t be an impartial juror and already knows the outcome.
The House impeachment resolution laid out in stark terms the articles of impeachment against Trump stemming from his July phone call when he asked the Ukrainian president for a “favor” — to announce he was investigating Democrats including potential 2020 rival Joe Biden.
At the time, Zelenskiy, new to politics and government, was seeking a coveted White House visit to show backing from the U.S. as he confronted a hostile Russia at his border. He was also counting on $391 million in military aid already approved by Congress. The White House delayed the funds, but Trump eventually released the money once Congress intervened.
Narrow in scope but broad in its charges, the impeachment resolution said the president “betrayed the nation by abusing his high office to enlist a foreign power in corrupting democratic elections,” and then obstructing Congress’ oversight like “no president” in U.S. history.
“President Trump, by such conduct, has demonstrated that he will remain a threat to national security and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office,” it said.
The world now wait to see how the Senate decide whether or not Trump remains in office.