President Donald Trump was impeached in the sharply divided House of Representatives Wednesday on overwhelmingly partisan votes for what Democrats say was an effort to get Ukraine to investigate one of Trump's potential rivals in the 2020 election.
House Approves 2 Articles Of Impeachment
Trump was impeached on two articles, one for abuse of power and one for obstruction of Congress, with critics alleging he tried to stymie the House's investigation into his request to the Ukrainian president to investigate Joe Biden and his son Hunter.
The question now goes to the Republican-controlled Senate in a trial on the charges. It is widely expected that Trump's GOP colleagues will vote to acquit him.
The vote in the House on the abuse of power article was 230-197, with all Republicans voting no.
Democratic Rep. Collin Peterson of Minnesota voted against impeachment, while Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii voted "present." Rep. Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey, who is in the process of switching from the Democratic Party to the GOP, also voted against impeachment.
The second article passed 229-198, again with all Republicans voting no.
With the votes, Trump became the third president to be impeached, after Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998.
Trump left the drama behind in Washington, D.C., taking off to campaign in Battle Creek, Michigan.
Democrats: No Choice
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi opened a daylong debate on impeachment in which most members spoke. She said Trump's behavior represented an "ongoing threat" to democracy and national security, claims echoed by dozens of Democrats, who hold the majority in the House.
Democrats allege Trump withheld military aide and a White House visit for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky over the issue, though the money was eventually released. Trump released a summary of the call in which he asked Zelensky for a favor by investigating Biden.
Rep. Jerry Nadler of New York said the founders made clear presidents are not above the law and may not misuse the office for personal gain.
“The evidence shows he did exactly that," Nadler said.
Republicans countered there was no such evidence, no specific crime and that impeachment was a "political vendetta."
"There was no pressure" on Zelensky, said Republican Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia. "They actually got the money and they never did anything for it."
Democratic Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland said Democrats had been reluctant to impeach Trump, voting three times against doing so before a whistleblower revealed Trump's July conversation with Zelensky. Republicans charged that Democrats had been working on impeachment essentially since Trump's 2016 election.
Republicans: Effort To Reverse An Election Democrats Lost
Several Republicans said Democrats simply didn't like the outcome of the 2016 election — and hold those who voted for and support Trump in contempt.
"I, along with 63 million voters … raised our collective political middle finger to D.C. and voted for Donald Trump," said Rep. Drew Ferguson, a Republican from Georgia. "How dare you, the liberal elites, the condescending bureaucrats and every other kind of swamp critter in this godforsaken place tell the American public who the president should be? This whole flippin' goat rodeo is a sham and a shame, and it will not be forgotten."
Ferguson, Collins and other Republicans also vowed revenge.
"One day, you're going to be back in the minority," Collins told Democrats. "And it ain't gonna be fun."
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