US Congress impeaches Trump

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Donald Trump was impeached in a mostly party-line vote in the House of Representatives on Wednesday evening, becoming the third president in US history to be impeached. After a full day of debate, the House voted 230-197 to approve the first article of impeachment charging Trump with abuse of power, with one “present” vote.

A second article, charging Trump with obstruction of Congress, was approved 229-198. Members voted overwhelmingly along party lines, with three Democrats opposing one or both articles, and one, 2020 candidate Tusli Gabbard, voting “present”.

While announcing the result, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has cast the impeachment as a sad, solemn occasion, shut down applause from Democrats. Trump now faces a trial in the Republican-controlled Senate, expected to begin early next month and to produce an acquittal of the president.

Following the vote, the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, said it was a “sad day” for the country. “The president’s reckless activities necessitated us having to introduce articles of impeachment,” she said, before thanking the various House committee leaders who spearheaded the impeachment inquiry.

Responding to questions about when the House would send over the articles of impeachment to the Senate, Pelosi would not definitively commit to sending over the articles or naming impeachment managers, House members who would present the case against Trump to the Senate.

“We cannot name managers until we see what the process is on the Senate side,” she said. “So far we haven’t seen anything that looks fair to us.”

Democrats accuse Trump of pursuing a scheme to cheat in the 2020 election by pressuring Ukraine to manufacture bad news about the former vice-president Joe Biden, one of Trump’s main Democrat rivals, and then blocking congressional oversight.

Trump joined Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998 as the only US presidents to be impeached. Richard Nixon resigned in 1974 before he could be impeached.

A two-thirds majority vote in the Republican-controlled Senate would be required to convict and remove Trump from office. With no Republican senators currently voicing support for impeachment, Trump appeared safe to survive.

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