The U.S. House of Representatives has formally impeached President Donald Trump. The decision came after a full day of heated debate over the matter, which follows weeks of private and public hearings investigating whether or not Trump leveraged military aid to Ukraine in exchange for a political favor.
Article I, which leveled charges of Abuse of Power, won with 230 in favor and 197 opposed, according to The Washington Post. The vote was largely along party lines, with some outliers. Two Democrats voted against impeachment, with one voting 'Present.' Article II, which accused Trump of Obstruction of Congress, passed 229-198.
The next move will be a trial in the Senate, where it would take 67 votes to remove him from office. Republicans hold 53 seats, compared to the Democrats' 45. Several GOP Senators have recently spoken in Trump's defense, which indicates that his removal from office seems to be unlikely.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi first announced that they would begin proceedings back in September. The Articles of Impeachment were voted on by the House Judiciary Committee last week, with a final tally of 23-17 entirely along party lines.
The Articles details that Trump had requested Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to dig up potential dirt on Joe Biden, whose son, Hunter, sits on the board of a Ukrainian energy company. Trump allegedly withheld military aid to the country until Zelensky agreed to the President's request. Biden is currently the frontrunner to be the Democratic nominee ahead of the 2020 election.
Trump has predictably denied these allegations and has repeatedly called the entire process a "witch hunt."0comments
The decision makes Trump only the third president to be impeached in the history of the United States. Bill Clinton was impeached for perjury and obstruction of justice 1998, though the Senate did not vote to remove him from office. Andrew Johnson was impeached for 11 high crimes and misdemeanors 130 years prior in 1868, but he was also acquitted by the Senate. Despite being under investigation for his involvement in the Watergate scandal, Richard Nixon resigned from office before he was impeached.
Grounds for impeachment are detailed in Article II, Section 4 of The Constitution: "The President…shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors." However, what constitutes "high Crimes and Misdemeanors" is not detailed, as that decision was left specifically for Congress to decide.