The House of Representatives voted on Wednesday (18.12.2019) to prosecute President Donald Trump on both articles of accusation, abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The vote followed weeks of demonstration related to his dealings with Ukraine and hours of burning debate over the process.
Trump is only the third president in U.S. history to be prosecuted. The latest breaking news and analysis on impeachment is updated on NBC News’ political reporters, as well as their teams are updating from Capitol Hill and at the White House.
❍ Trump Impeachment Highlights
- From seriousness to anger to exaggeration discussions going on in the historic House debate on Wednesday (18.12.2019).
- President Donald Trump sent a confused six-page letter on Tuesday (17.12.2019) to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, on the details of Congress’ impeachment inquiry on a partisan “crusade,” an “unprecedented and unconstitutional abuse of power” and a “spiteful” “election-nullification scheme.”
- The House of Judiciary Committee released its full 658-page report just after midnight Sunday, in which the majority calls Trump the “Framers’ worst nightmare.”
The governing body will hold a trial early next year to decide whether the president should be prisoned on the charges and removed from office, though the Republicans who have the majority in that chamber will almost certainly find not guilty of him.
House Democrats took depositions from more than a dozen witnesses, held weeks of hearings, and wrote hundreds of pages documenting Trump’s efforts to pressure the president of Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son.
Still, public support for Trump’s accusation and removal did not go much above 50% in polling, and there is little evidence that the records will leave him in a worse position politically on the eve of the 2020 election.
After more than six hours of debate, the House voted 230 to 197 to adopt the first of two impeachment articles, one alleging he misused the power of his office to pressure Ukraine to investigate the Bidens. The House voted 229 to 198 on a second article accusing him of obstructing Congress.
The final vote left all sides displeased. Republicans fumed at what they called a rushed process, accusing Democrats of ignoring their demands for witnesses and trying to smudge Trump heading into his campaign.
Democrats received a momentary boost when the details of Trump’s controversial call with Ukraine’s president first emerged in September 2019. But they failed to impose lasting damage to the president, even as the evidence mounted that Trump had done what Democrats alleged: an attempt to strong-arm a U.S. ally to investigate a prominent political rival by holding back military aid and an Oval Office visit.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said after the votes that she could not feel more proud or more inspired by the moral courage of House Democrats.
❍ Shift to Committee
The investigation will now shift to the Senate for a trial next month that will be presided over by Chief Justice John Roberts. With a two-thirds vote required to convict the president, Trump’s discharge in the Republican-controlled chamber is all but assured. Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader has already declared that he is “not an impartial juror” and is setting a course to bring the proceedings to a swift conclusion.
The president Trump is quite confident that the Senate will restore regular order, fairness, and due process, all of which were ignored in the House proceedings. White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement immediately after the second article was adopted. “He is prepared for the next steps and confident that he will be fully justified.