The House of Representatives in the US has impeached President Donald Trump, making him the third in American history to be impeached.
Impeached on Wednesday on a largely party line vote, the removal from power by the House, has set up a formal trial of Trump next year in the Senate.
Daily Mail reports that the impeachment vote capped off a three month investigation into the president’s actions in regard to Ukraine.
The vote came at the end of a day long partisan debate on the House floor with Republicans charging Democrats with wanting to over turn the last presidential election and Democrats arguing the president tried to use a foreign power to help him win re-election.
The House held two separate votes – one on each article of impeachment, with Speaker Nancy Pelosi presiding over the votes and largely kept her party in line.
The vote on the first article of impeachment – abuse of power – was 230 to 197. The vote on the second article – obstruction of Congress – was 229 to 198.
‘On this vote, the yeas are 230. The nays are 197. Present is one. Article one is adopted,’ Pelosi announced after she gaveled the vote on the first article to a close.
On this vote, the yeas are 229. The nays are 198. Present is one. Article two is adopted,’ she said at the end of the second vote.
For the first vote there were two Democratic defections: Colin Peterson of Minnesota, who said he would be a no vote, and Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey who is reported to be switching to the Republican Party.
For the vote on the second article, those two were joined in the dissenting column by Maine Democrat Jared Golden, who said he would vote for the first article but not the second.
Republicans lawmakers rushed to the speaker’s dais to cast their votes by paper ballot, which means the votes had to be tallied by hand by the Clerk of the House. The usual procedure is for lawmakers to vote via an electronic system.
Some lawmakers were spotted taking selfies with their ballots before they officially casted them.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi voted yes on both articles, casting a rare vote. The speaker of the House typically does not vote on any legislative matter.
Tulsi Gabbard, a Democrat running for president, voted ‘present’ for both articles. Justin Amash, the Republican lawmaker turned Independent, voted yes for both articles.
Trump was in Michigan for a campaign rally as the House of Representatives held its impeachment vote. He was speaking in Amash’s district.
‘By the way by the way it doesn’t really feel like we’re being impeached,’ he told the crowd.
He turned to bragging about his accomplishments, including the Space Force that was just established by congressional vote.
‘I’ll be able to tell my kids someday and everybody else, see that Space Force, that was my baby,’ he said, drawing a loud roar from the crowd.
And he also bragged he got some Democratic votes.
‘The Democrats always stick together. Think of it: 3 Democrats went over to our side,’ he said. He added: ‘That’s unheard of.’
The president was silent as he left the White House on Wednesday to head to his rally but he tweeted furiously throughout the day.
“ATROCIOUS LIES BY THE RADICAL LEFT, DO NOTHING DEMOCRATS. THIS IS AN ASSAULT ON AMERICA, AND AN ASSAULT ON THE REPUBLICAN PARTY!!!!,’ he wrote in a furious all-caps assault earlier in the day.
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham blasted the vote as ‘one of the most shameful political episodes in the history of our Nation.’
‘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 in a statement.
There are three not-voting congressional seats: the seats held by Katie Hill, who resigned, and Elijah Cummings, who died, have not been filled. Republican Congressman Duncan Hunter can’t vote after being found guilty of a felony.
Additionally, Republican Rep. John Shimkus missed the vote because he was on a pre-planned trip to Africa.
‘Long before today’s votes were scheduled, my wife Karen and I made arrangements to visit our son Joshua in Tanzania where he’s serving in the Peace Corps,’ he said in a statement.
The day-long debate on the House floor was a ping pong back-and-forth of one minute speeches were Democrats accused the president of using a foreign power to help him win the 2020 election and Republicans claimed Democrats were trying to over turn the 2016 contest.
‘This is not about Ukraine. This is about power. Donald Trump has it and Democrats want it,’ said Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz, one of Trump’s biggest allies on Capitol Hill. ‘Democrats may have won the house in 2018. But they haven’t forgiven Donald Trumper for having the audacity to win the presidency. And they haven’t forgiven you, the American people, for voting for him.’
Democratic Rep. John Lewis, a legend of the civil rights movement, urged lawmakers to do the right thing and vote to impeachment.
‘When you see something that is not right, not just, not fair—you have a moral obligation to say something, to do something. Our children and their children will ask us: “What did you do?”‘ he said.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi began the formal debate on the articles of impeachment by saying the president gave them no choice but to impeach him. She received a standing ovation from her Democratic lawmakers when she was done.
‘As speaker of the House I solemnly and sadly open the debate on the impeachment of the president of the United States. 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,’ she said in her speech in the well of the House, standing next to a sign with a picture of the American flag and reading ‘to the republic for which it stands.’
The speaker was dressed in black for the day. Pinned to her dress was a broach in the shape of the Mace of the House – a symbol of the power of the speaker.
Pelosi, who fought to become speaker after Democrats won control of the House after the 2018 election, has received kudos from her party members on her handling of the impeachment inquiry.
Leading the floor debate for the Democrats were the two men who led the impeachment inquiry: House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff.
‘He tried to cheat and he got caught,’ Schiff said in his remarks on the House floor.
The debate grew more impassioned as the time for the final vote got closer.
One of the last lawmakers to speak, House Republican Whip Steve Scalise delivered a fiery defense of President Trump, throwing papers on the desk and waving his arms to the cheers of his fellow GOP lawmakers.
‘This has been about a political vendetta,’ Scalise said.
And he echoed Republican charges Democrats were trying to over turn the 2016 election.
‘This isn’t just about Donald Trump. They don’t just hate Donald Trump,’ he said of Democrats. ‘They hate the 63 million Americans who voted for this president. The forgotten men and women of this country who have been left behind.’
‘No, no,’ the Democratic lawmakers yelled from across the chamber. Republicans started cheering Scalise on to drown them out.
Rep. Diana DeGette, was presiding over the chamber, gaveled for a return to order.
‘Impeachment will not just be a stain on this Democratic majority. Impeachment will be their legacy,’ Scalise finished.
Schiff made the closing argument for Democrats and he appealed to lawmakers to think of the future, when they could be the majority in the House.
‘You may be one day — although you may not act like it, you may one day be in the majority. You will want to hold a president accountable. What will you say when that president says, you were a paper tiger, you have no oversight, I can ignore your subpoenas, what will you say? What will you argue? No, no, that was different. Then we were in the minority. Then it was a Republican president. Will that be your argument?,’ Schiff said.
He also pointed out that Republicans, under Ronald Reagan, cared about standing up to Russia and President Vladimir Putin.
‘We should care about Ukraine. We should care about a country struggling to be free and a democracy. We used to care about democracy. We used to care about our allies. We used to stand up to Putin and Russia. We used to. I know the party of Ronald Reagan used to,’ he said as Democrats applauded.
With reports by Dailymailonline