The United States House of Representatives voted to impeach President Donald J. Trump on Wednesday night, December 18. He is the third President in the country’s history, after Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton, to be impeached by the members of the House of Representatives, a majority of whom belong to the Democratic Party.
What will follow is a trial in the Senate, which will determine whether Mr Trump will remain in office.
The vote, which centered around whether or not Mr Trump had first, abused his power, and secondly, obstructed Congress, had been done along party lines, with almost all Republicans voting against the charges levelled against the President, and almost all Democrats voting in favour of it.
And while members of Congress were casting their ballots, Mr Trump was at a rally in Michigan, giving a speech.
At the beginning of the session on Wednesday, some members of Congress from the Republican Party were calling for votes regarding procedural issues in order to derail the impeachment process.
The House of Representatives then voted on the rules for impeachment, which led to a debate concerning the two charges levelled against Mr Trump, which lasted for six hours. In total, debating on December 18th lasted about 10 hours.
Afterward, the House called for voting on the two charges, which are as follows:
One—the abuse of power coming from the President’s reported endeavour to pressure Ukraine to announce that they were investigating former Vice President Joseph Biden, who is widely considered to be one of Mr Trump’s chief rivals as he eyes a bid for reelection in 2020.
Two—the obstruction of congress, since Mr Trump is reported to have refused to cooperate with the inquiry into the impeachment. He also allegedly withheld documentary evidence and prevented key aides from providing evidence.
What spurred the impeachment inquiry was a complaint from a whistle blower, an unnamed US intelligence official who filed it last August. The following month, the House Intelligence Committee disclosed the complaint after it had received it from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
The complaint said that Mr Trump, in a phone call to Volodymyr Zelensky, pressured the Ukrainian President several times to investigate Mr Biden, along with his son Hunter, over corruption allegations. The US President also asked Mr Zelensky to investigate an alleged conspiracy theory concerning Ukraine’s interference in the presidential elections in the US in 2016. Mr Trump, in the meantime, withheld military aid from Ukraine.
A larger campaign to put pressure on the Ukrainian president has been revealed in the impeachment process, which President Trump directed his personal lawyer, former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, to lead. Mr Guiliani was aided in these efforts by the US’s former special envoy in Ukraine, Kurt Volker, and the US’s ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, among others.
Mr Trump has protested that he is innocent, and has said in a letter to Democrat Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House, that the impeachment process is “a perversion of justice and abuse of power.”
He added, “More due process was afforded to those accused in the Salem Witch Trials. I have no doubt the American people will hold you and the Democrats fully responsible in the upcoming 2020 election. Your legacy will be that of turning the House of Representatives from a revered legislative body into a Star Chamber of partisan persecution.” -/TISG