Donald J. Trump has become only the third U.S. president to be impeached.
The impeachment vote came on Wednesday after a two month investigation by House Democrats. In the end, the United States House of Representatives voted to impeach on two articles, abuse of power and obstruction of investigation.
The first of the two articles of impeachment accused Trump of abusing his power by asking Ukraine to investigate his political rival and Democratic 2020 presidential candidate, Joe Biden, and the second accused Trump of refusing to comply with House Intelligence Committee subpoenas.
Both articles were passed almost entirely along party lines, with the abuse of power article passing by 230 votes to 197, and the obstruction article passing by 229 to 198.
Only two Democrats broke with their party to vote against impeachment, Collin Peterson of Minnesota and Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey, while Democrat Jared Golden of Maine voted to pass the first article but voted against the passage of the second. Democrat and 2020 presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii voted neither for nor against impeachment, choosing instead to vote “present”.
The case for impeachment rested on a call between Trump and the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, in which the U.S. President asked his Ukrainian counterpart to launch a public investigation into Biden and Biden’s son, Hunter.
What happens next?
The trial now moves to the Republican-controlled Senate, which is expected to hold a vote on the House-passed Articles of Impeachment in January and decide whether to convict the president and remove him from office.
In pushing for impeachment, House Democrats were already looking ahead to the Senate trial and many in the House chamber stressed the importance of removing Trump before he could solicit foreign interference for the 2020 elections.
What was Trump’s response to being impeached?
At the same time the House was voting on impeachment, Trump was speaking at a rally in Michigan. Upon learning that the House had passed the two articles of impeachment, Trump remarked that the vote showed “deep hatred and disdain.”
Trump has maintained throughout the entire process that the impeachment investigation is a “witch hunt” based on ”lies” from the “radical left”.
Vice President Mike Pence addressed the Michigan crowd at the Trump rally as voting for impeachment began, accusing the Democrats of trying to run down the President.
“They’re trying to run down this president because they can’t run against our record. “They know they can’t stop you from giving President Donald Trump four more years in the White House,” said Pence.
After the vote confirmed that the president was impeached, a message on the Republican Party’s official twitter feed stated, “We will never stop fighting for the sacred values that bind us together as one America.”