Trump becomes third president to be impeached in historic House vote

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This is only the third time in history Congress has voted to impeach a president.

The House voted Wednesday to approve two articles of impeachment against Donald Trump, a historic vote that makes Trump just the third president in U.S. history to be impeached.

By a vote of 230-197, the House passed the first article of impeachment, for abuse of power, before voting on the second, obstruction of justice, which passed 229-198. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) voted present on both articles.

The charges stem from Trump's attempt to force Ukraine into investigating his political rivals by withholding military aid Congress had voted to send to the Eastern European ally. The articles of impeachment say doing so was an abuse of the office of the presidency for Trump's personal political gain.

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The obstruction charge comes from Trump's stonewalling of Congress' investigative efforts by ordering both current and former aides not to testify and by withholding documents that could have been used as evidence against him.

In a report making the case for impeachment, the House Judiciary Committee called Trump's actions "criminal in character."

House Republicans, in an effort to defend Trump during the impeachment inquiry, lobbed debunked conspiracy theories about Ukraine.

Though Trump dared Democrats to impeach him just a few months ago, saying the effort would be good for his reelection, he appears to be fuming about the fact that his record will now carry the stain of impeachment. On Tuesday, he wrote a six-page diatribe to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi raging about the impeachment vote.

The impeachment process now moves on to the Senate, which is tasked with holding a trial to decide whether Trump deserves to be convicted of the charges the House filed against him, and if so, whether to remove him from office. The articles of impeachment also state that Trump's conduct should bar him from being able "to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States" in the future.

Senate Republicans, who control the process because of their majority in the chamber, don't intend to call witnesses that could shed more light on Trump's actions, and have said they want to move to quickly acquit him of the charges.

In fact, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has declared that he is not an "impartial" juror — as the Senate oath requires him to be — and instead plans to work hand-in-hand with the White House to defend Trump.

The Senate trial against Trump is expected to begin in January, when lawmakers return from the holiday recess.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.