US House of Representatives impeaches President Trump

Saturday, December 21, 2019

On Wednesday, the United States House of Representatives impeached President Donald Trump over complaints arising from an alleged abuse of power. Trump, the third President to be impeached by the House, is to face trial in the Senate.

The House passed two different articles of impeachment. The first charged Trump with abuse of power, and the second accused him of obstruction of Congress. The abuse of power charge stemmed from allegations Trump tried to pressure the Ukrainian government to launch an investigation of Joe Biden's son, in order to help Trump's chances in the 2020 United States presidential election in which Biden is also running. The articles passed by votes of 230-to-197 and 229-to-198 respectively.

The impeachment occurred largely along partisan lines, with Democratic members of the House voting in favor of the impeachment, and Republican members opposing. Two Democratic Representatives, Collin Peterson and Jeff Van Drew, opposed both articles of impeachment, and a third, Jared Golden, voted for the first article but against the second. In the immediate aftermath of the vote, CNN reported Jeff Van Drew was expected to leave the Democratic party.

Mitch McConnell, the Republican Senate Majority Leader, reportedly previously committed to proceeding with an impeachment trial, anticipated to begin in January. He publicly stated the trial would not be impartial, saying he anticipated having "a largely partisan outcome" in the Senate. Republicans hold a majority in the Senate, and for a trial to result in removal from office a two-thirds majority is needed. If Trump were removed, the Senate constitutionally could disqualify him from serving as President again.

The House has only impeached two other Presidents. Bill Clinton was impeached in 1998, and Andrew Johnson in 1868. The Senate acquitted both of them.