“The president is an ongoing threat to our national security and the integrity of our elections,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said.
President Donald Trump just got impeached.
Trump became just the third president in U.S. history to face that constitutional rebuke on Wednesday evening as House Democrats moved to prevent what they describe as his continuing assault on American democracy.
“The president is an ongoing threat to our national security and the integrity of our elections — the basis of our democracy,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said as she opened debate on the House floor on impeachment earlier in the day.
The House passed the first of two articles of impeachment — abuse of power — shortly after 8:30 p.m. by 230-197 a mostly party-line vote that broke along the deeply polarized fissure dividing both Congress and America. No Republicans backed impeachment, while just two Democrats opposed it — including one who plans to switch to the GOP in the coming days. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), who’s running for president in 2020, voted “present.”
Now, the Senate will hold a trial and vote on whether to remove Trump from office, though the exact timing and process still need to be established.
But House Democrats opted to withhold a vote appointing their impeachment managers until they could establish that the Senate would hold what they deemed a “fair trial,” as Pelosi said after the vote.
Trump stands accused of using the power of his office to try to boost
his reelection chances and of obstructing Congress’s constitutionally
authorized powers of investigation to cover up his actions.
On a July 25 phone call with Ukraine’s president, Trump asked to “do us a favor, though” and requested investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden, his likely 2020 opponent, as well as support for a conspiracy theory that claims Ukraine targeted Trump in the 2016 election and Russia didn’t seek to boost him.
To get what he wanted, Democrats argue, Trump effectively sold Ukraine out to Russia.
Then, when Democrats tried to investigate what happened, Trump issued a blanket order that no one in his administration should cooperate, an unprecedented effort to stonewall Congress. Democrats took that resistance and bundled it into a second article of impeachment: obstruction of Congress.
“Donald J. Trump sacrificed our national security in an effort to cheat in the next election. And for that, and his continued efforts to seek foreign interference in our elections, he must be impeached,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said.
“When Jesus was falsely accused of treason, Pontius Pilate gave Jesus the opportunity to face his accusers,” Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.) said on the House floor. “During that sham trial, Pontius Pilate afforded more rights to Jesus than Democrats have afforded this president in this process.”