The Democrat-dominated US House of Representatives impeached President Donald Trump on charges of abusing his power as the President and obstructing Congress when the investigation on the first charge was underway.
The impeachment inquiry, that was launched in September following a whistleblower complaint, has two articles. They accuse Trump of pressuring Ukrainian President Volodmyr Zelenskyy on a phone call on July 25, to open an investigation into Trump’s political rival and former vice president, Joe Biden, a frontrunner for the 2020 Democratic Presidential race, and his son Hunter, who had both served on the board of a Ukrainian gas company. His administration was withholding nearly $400 million worth Congress approved military assistance from Ukraine at the time of the call.
Trump is also charged with obstruction of justice. The President and the White House have refused to participate in the inquiry and investigation, by not complying with subpoenas as per the President’s instructions.
The motion won the votes of nearly all Democrats in the House and not a single Republican, thereby deepening the rift between the parties. If impeached, Trump would be the third US President in history to be impeached – after former presidents Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998. While both were impeached, neither was officially removed from office.
The House of Representatives debated for over six hours, before voting 230 to 197 to adopt the first impeachment article (alleging misuse of power) and 229 to 198 for the second (obstructing Congress). Trump now awaits trial in the Senate next month, that Chief Justice John Roberts will preside over. For successful impeachment, two-thirds of the Senate will have to vote to convict Trump. He is more likely to be acquitted than convicted by the Senate, which has a Republican majority.