Donald Trump becomes third President to be impeached in US history
House of Representatives formally charges him with abuse of power and obstructing Congress, Senate trial will decide whether he remains in office
Washington: Donald Trump has become the third President in US history to be impeached as the House of Representatives formally charged him with abuse of power and obstructing the Congress, setting up a Senate trial next year that will decide whether he remains in office after three tumultuous years.
The House on Wednesday night impeached President Trump on two counts — abuse of power and obstructing the Congress. The first article of impeachment, abuse of power, was on party lines with 230 to 197 votes. The second article of impeachment, obstruction to the Congress, was voted 229-198 votes.
The White House described the impeachment as one of the "most shameful" political episodes in the history of the US. All four Democratic Indian-American members of the House of Representatives voted for Trump's impeachment. The impeachment now moves to the Senate where the Supreme Court Chief Justice would preside over the trial.
No president in the 243-year-long US history has been removed from office by impeachment. It would require a two-thirds majority in the 100-member Senate, meaning at least 20 Republicans would have to join Democrats in voting against Trump.
Given that the ruling Republicans have majority in the 100-member Senate, political analysts say that impeachment is likely to fail and the Democrats might not be able to unseat Trump from the Oval Office. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he would hold an impeachment trial early next year. Democrats need two-third majority in the Senate to convict Trump.
"If we do not act now, we would be derelict in our duty. It is tragic that the President's reckless actions make impeachment necessary. He gave us no choice," Democratic leader and House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in her remarks on the floor of the House. Neither of the two previous presidents impeached since 1789, Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998, was convicted in the Senate, and both held onto their jobs.
In his first reaction on Wednesday's impeachment, Trump said the Democrats were trying to impeach him from day one. "They've been trying to impeach me from day one. After three years of sinister witch hunts, hoaxes, scams, tonight, House Democrats are trying to nullify the ballots of tens of millions of patriotic Americans," he said in his address to a 'Keep America Great' rally in Michigan.
"Crazy Nancy Pelosi's House Democrats have branded themselves with an eternal mark of shame," Trump said. He then slammed his 2016 rival Hillary Clinton. Loud "Lock Her Up!" chant came from the crowd after he mocked her stamina. "They shouldn't even be able to have an impeachment. If we were Democrats, they would have been in jail two years ago. It's a disgrace," he said.
The period of fierce arguments between Democrats and Republicans
Trump confident about Senate
US President Donald Trump is confident that the Senate will not vote to impeach him, the White House said in a statement. "The President is confident the Senate will restore regular order, fairness, and due process, and will continue to work tirelessly to address the needs and priorities of the American people, as he has since the day he took office," tweeted the White House. "The American people are not fooled by this disgraceful behaviour. They understand fairness, due process, and substantial, reliable evidence are required before any American should be charged with wrongdoing — and certainly before impeaching a duly elected President," it added.
Tulsi Gabbard, Democrats' presidential candidate
'I could not in good conscience vote against impeachment because I believe President Trump is guilty of wrongdoing…I also could not in good conscience vote for impeachment because removal of a sitting president must not be the culmination of a partisan process, fueled by tribal animosities that have so gravely divided our country'
Vladimir Putin, President, Russia
'It still needs to go through the Senate, where the Republicans have a majority… And it is hardly likely that they are going to push out of office a representative of their own party, on grounds that are absolutely made-up'
Who said what
Joe Biden@JoeBiden: President Trump abused his power, violated his oath of office, and betrayed our nation. This is a solemn moment for our country. But in the United States of America, no one is above the law, not even the President
Nancy Pelosi, Speaker, House of Representatives
'If we do not act now, we would be derelict in our duty. It is tragic that the President's reckless actions make impeachment necessary. He gave us no choice'
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