The House of Representatives voted Wednesday to impeach President Donald Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, making him just the third president to be impeached in U.S. history.
The vote on the first article was 230-197, with all but two Democrats voting in favor, and all Republicans opposed. The House approved the second article on a vote of 229-198. One Democrat, Rep. Jared Golden, voted for the first article and against the second one. Another Democrat, Tulsi Gabbard, voted “present,” and one independent, Justin Amash, voted in favor of both articles.
The articles accuse Trump of abusing his office by pressuring Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 presidential election. Trump is alleged to have withheld $391 million in military aid to the country as he sought to get Ukraine’s president to announce an investigation of former vice president Joe Biden, the Democratic frontrunner. He is also accused of ignoring stonewalling the impeachment inquiry by directing executive branch employees to ignore House subpoenas.
House Democrats, led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, argued that the president had left them with “no choice” but to impeach him.
“If we do not act now we would be derelict in our duty,” Pelosi said. “It is tragic that the president’s reckless actions make impeachment necessary.”
Trump was speaking at a rally in Battle Creek, Mich., when he got word of the vote.
“We didn’t lose one Republican vote, and three Democrats voted for us,” he told the crowd. “The Republican Party has never been so affronted, but they’ve never been so united as they are right now. I know the senators and they’re great guys, and women too… They’re going to do the right thing.”
Trump is all but certain to be acquitted in the Senate, which is scheduled to take up the impeachment trial in January.
The House debated the articles for some eight hours on Wednesday. Democrats frequently invoked the Constitution and the founders, while Republicans accused the Democrats of acting out of personal animus for Trump, and warned that the House was setting a dangerous precedent.
“They hate this president,” said Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah. “If this impeachment is successful, the next president, I promise you, is going to be impeached. And the next president after that. If you set this bar as being impeachable, every president in our future will be impeached.”
Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, argued that the impeachment would “disenfranchise 63 million voters” who supported Trump, and held a 30-second moment of silence in honor of those voters.
Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, argued that the Republicans were complaining about the process because they could not defend the president’s conduct.
He said their defense added up to little more than “Why should we care?”
“We should care about our allies,” Schiff said. “We should care about Ukraine. We used to care about democracy. We used to care about our allies. We used to stand up to Putin and Russia.”
Amash, an independent who recently left the Republican Party, spoke in favor of impeachment, saying that the president had violated the public trust.
“His actions reflect precisely the type of conduct the framers of the Constitution intended to remedy through the power of impeachment,” Amash said. “It is our duty to impeach him.”