Trump Impeached in a Historic Vote by the House

The House of Representatives voted Wednesday night to impeach President Donald Trump, making him only the third president to be charged with high crimes and misdemeanors and face a Senate trial that could remove him from office, CNBC reports.

The largely party-line vote after eight hours of highly charged partisan debate represented the culmination of a sprawling three-month investigation that was conducted by multiple committees in the Democratic-controlled House and was opposed at every turn by the White House and congressional Republicans.

Following Wednesday’s votes, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham called the impeachment an “unconstitutional travesty.” Trump, she said in a statement, “is confident the Senate will restore regular order, fairness, and due process,” and he is prepared “for the next steps and confident that he will be fully exonerated.”

After the votes, a somber House Speaker Nancy Pelosi paid tribute to the late Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, who was among the Democratic leaders of the anti-Trump effort until his death at age 68 on October 17.

He said: “When the history books are written about this tumultuous era, I want them to show that I was among those in the House of Representatives who stood up to lawlessness and tyranny,’” Pelosi said. “He also said somewhat presciently, ‘When we are dancing with the angels, the question will be what did you do to make sure we kept our democracy’.”

Article one, abuse of power, was adopted by 230 to 197, with one member voting present. Article two, obstruction of Congress, passed by 229 to 198 with one voting present. Two Democrats broke ranks and voted against impeachment on the first article, CNBC asserts.

One of them was Rep. Colin Peterson, D-Minn., who represents a district that Trump won easily in 2016 and who had faced pressure for months to oppose the impeachment. The other was New Jersey Rep. Jeff Van Drew, who is expected to switch parties and join the Republican caucus. Van Drew and Peterson had consistently voted against allowing the impeachment probe to move forward in procedural votes this fall.

A third Democratic lawmaker, Rep. Jared Golden of Maine, joined Peterson and Van Drew on Wednesday to vote against the second article of impeachment, obstruction of Congress. Golden did support passage of the first article, for abuse of power.

Ultimately, Trump was impeached on two specific charges: The first was that he abused his power by freezing U.S. foreign aid to Ukraine in order to pressure Ukraine’s president into launching investigations into Trump’s domestic political opponents.

According to the first article of impeachment, Trump’s actions toward Ukraine amounted to having used his office to solicit “the interference of a foreign government, Ukraine, in the 2020 United States Presidential election.”

Through his conduct, the article asserts, Trump “demonstrated that he will remain a threat to national security and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office, and has acted in a manner grossly incompatible with self-governance and the rule of law.”

The second article charges Trump with obstruction of Congress for demanding that top-level staffers at the White House defy the lawfully issued subpoenas they received from the House Intelligence Committee, compelling them to testify in the impeachment probe.

“President Trump thus interposed the powers of the Presidency against the lawful subpoenas of the House of Representatives,” the article states, and he “assumed to himself functions and judgments” that are the constitutional purview of the legislative branch, and specifically of the House.

Despite the White House’s blanket directive to aides this fall not to testify, more than a dozen current and former national security officials, diplomats and career public servants ignored the President’s instructions and opted to give testimony under oath, CNBC added.

Collectively, the officials described how Trump and his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani engaged in a monthslong effort to force Ukraine to agree to actions that ran contrary to U.S. national security priorities. Instead of working in the best interests of the United States, the officials said, Trump’s lieutenants were dispatched around the world to carry out what a top Russia expert at the White House called “a domestic political errand” on the President’s own behalf.

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