For the third time in American history, a president of the United States has been impeached by the House of Representatives.
Wednesday afternoon, the impeachment articles were presented for debate by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Just hours later, the House voted 230-197 to charge President Donald J. Trump with the first article of impeachment: abuse of power. It was then announced at 8:52 pm that the House voted 229-198 to charge President Trump with obstruction of Congress.
Cries for impeachment have rung since the beginning of Trump’s presidency, and historically, both Democrats and Republicans have been hesitant to initiate the long, disruptive impeachment process. It was an accusation from an anonymous whistleblower and a majority in the House that sparked Democrats to take action against the president, with Speaker Pelosi launching an impeachment inquiry 85 days ago.
These specific articles were raised against President Trump because he allegedly threatened to withhold military aid from Ukraine if its president, Vladimir Zelensky, did not agree to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden’s son and help President Trump in the 2020 election. Additionally, during the impeachment investigation, President Trump directed White House officials to disobey Congressional subpoenas for testimony.
From start to finish, the impeachment discussion reflected intense partisanship. Wednesday’s votes very much reflected this division, with no Republicans voting for impeachment on either article. Democrats voted overwhelmingly for impeachment, with only three voting against impeachment both times. One Democratic Congressman who voted against both articles is expected to switch parties soon. Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard casted neither “Yea” nor “Nay” votes for either article; she voted “Present” both times.
President Trump, who was at a rally in Michigan when his impeachment was announced, has repeatedly called the impeachment process a “hoax.” He will now go before the Senate for a trial to determine whether or not he will be removed from office, though that outcome is not predicted.