US House of Representatives impeaches President Trump

President Donald Trump has become the third president in American history to be impeached after the House approved abuse of power and obstruction of Congress charges.
December 19, 2019 | 19:33
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us house of representatives impeaches president trump
US President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Guatemala's President Jimmy Morales in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S., December 17, 2019. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

The House voted 230-197 to charge Trump with abuse of power and 229-198 to charge him with obstruction of Congress. The votes were largely split along party lines: just two Democrats voted against both articles, Reps. Collin Peterson of Minnesota and Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey, who is expected to soon switch parties. A third, Rep. Jared Golden of Maine, voted for one impeachment article. Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination, voted present for both articles.

Republican-turned independent Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan voted to impeach Trump on both counts.

Trump now joins a small club of Presidents who have been impeached by the House for "high crimes and misdemeanors" cited in the Constitution: President Andrew Johnson in 1868 and President Bill Clinton in 1998. President Richard Nixon resigned in 1974 before impeachment proceedings against him could reach the House floor.

"Consumed with hatred"

Trump railed against a Democratic Party "consumed with hatred" after he was impeached on Wednesday (Dec 18) for abuse of power and obstructing Congress.

"While we're creating jobs and fighting for Michigan, the radical Left in Congress is consumed with envy and hatred and rage, you see what's going on," the Republican leader seethed at a campaign rally in the state. "These people are crazy."

Trump said the Democratic Party, which controls the House of Representatives where the votes took place, was "trying to nullify the ballots of tens of millions of patriotic Americans".

Trump will now stand trial in the Senate, where his Republicans hold a solid majority and are expected to exonerate him.

The White House said it was confident the Senate would exonerate Trump, calling the impeachment of the president "shameful".

"Today marks the culmination in the House of one of the most shameful political episodes in the history of our nation," White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said in a statement.

"Without receiving a single Republican vote, and without providing any proof of wrongdoing, Democrats pushed illegitimate articles of impeachment against the president through the House of Representatives.

"The president is confident the Senate will restore regular order, fairness, and due process, all of which were ignored in the House proceedings. He is prepared for the next steps and confident that he will be fully exonerated," she said.

The House vote came four months after a whistleblower blew open the scandal of Trump pressuring Ukraine's president to investigate his potential White House challenger in 2020, the veteran Democrat Joe Biden.

After a marathon 10-hour debate, lawmakers voted quickly 229-198 to approve the second article of impeachment facing Trump - for obstructing the congressional probe into his Ukraine dealings by blocking the testimony of subpoenaed White House aides./.

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