As of 5:19 p.m. Wednesday, Donald J. Trump became the third president in U.S. history to be impeached.
After approximately eight hours of debate, the U.S. House of Representatives voted Wednesday evening to adopt two articles of impeachment. Both articles passed with no Republican support and notable “present” votes cast by Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard.
Two Democrats, Collin Peterson of Minnesota and Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey, voted against adoption of both articles. Van Drew recently made news for an announcement that he intends to switch parties, which prompted the resignation of six of his aides.
In the first article, Democrats alleged that Trump engaged in abuse of power, specifically in reference to a July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. It was alleged Trump withheld aid previously approved by Congress and a White House visit as leverage for an investigation announcement into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden. The first article passed 230-197.
The second article focused on the president’s obstruction of Congress throughout the oversight investigation, including but not limited to prohibiting subpoenaed witnesses from testifying and directing the White House to withhold requested documentation. An additional Democrat, Jared Golden of Maine, joined the Republicans with a no vote. Adoption of the article still passed 229-198.
In a press conference held shortly after the House adjourned, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi invoked the late Elijah Cummings with words he spoke before he died October 17:
“When 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.”
In a flashpoint in the press conference, Pelosi refused to confirm when and if the House would send the adopted articles to the Senate. The Senate trial would traditionally determine if the articles Trump has been impeached for are sufficient to remove him from office, which has never been done in the country’s history.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has the Constitutional burden of conducting a fair and impartial trial, where Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts would oversee the process and Senators would be expected to act as jurors. McConnell’s recent public comments indicate that he has no interest in being impartial and that he is working directly with White House counsel, which in this case is the defendant’s legal team.
Trump was speaking at a campaign rally in Michigan as the votes were cast. He is the first president in U.S. history to be impeached in his first term.