The U.S. House of Representatives has supported both articles of impeachment by Donald trump. Trump was accused of abuse of power, as well as obstructing the work of Congress. For the first charge, 230 members of the house voted (with the necessary 216), for the second – 229.
Before the vote, the debate lasted six hours, the Republicans wanted to sit twice as long. Their proposal was rejected by a democratic majority. As a result, each of the congressmen had from one to two and a half minutes to speak. GOP congressmen accused the Democrats of curtailing a public debate on impeachment. They compared the refusal to the course of the investigation, when “inconvenient” witnesses, such as Hunter Biden, were not called to testify.
Democrats believe that trump sought foreign intervention in the US election. As an abuse of presidential powers, they regarded the fact that Trump, in their opinion, made the allocation of $ 391 million of military assistance to Ukraine dependent on the conduct of investigative actions. The fact that this money was eventually allocated, they explain by an attempt to retroactively relieve themselves of responsibility: the tranche was carried out after the impeachment procedure was launched. According to the Democrats, the White House’s refusal to participate in the investigation and the prohibition of its employees to testify before the House committees was an attempt to impede Congress.
Republicans emphasized the one-party nature of impeachment. They believe that the Democrats wanted Trump to be removed from the moment he came to power and the conversation with Zelensky was only an excuse for them to start the procedure. Republican congressmen said the investigation cannot be trusted, since voting depends solely on party affiliation. They cited an example of a similar procedure against Democratic President Bill Clinton in 1998 – then several members of the Democratic Party voted for impeachment, and several Republicans, on the contrary, against it.
Both sides actively quoted the founding fathers of the United States; one speaker compared Trump with Christ. Responding to the Republican argument about the one-party system of impeachment, the Democrats alluded to Abraham Lincoln. In turn, congressmen from the Republican Party claimed that the creators of the American constitution warned against turning impeachment into a political weapon. Democrats, referring to the same authorities, in response said that the procedure was included in the constitution in order to stop the rulers who abuse the power. One of the most unexpected was the speech of Republican Barry Laudermilka, who stated that “Pilate provided Jesus with more opportunities to defend himself than the Democrats did to President Trump.”
As a result, members of the House really voted in accordance with party affiliation. None of the Republican Party representatives supported impeachment. Right before the meeting, it became known that the only doubting Republican, Francis Rooney, decided to oppose. True, independent congressman Justin Amash voted for him, who left the Republican Party only in July 2019. In turn, two Democrats, Jeff Van Drew and Colin Peterson, voted against impeachment, another – Jared Golden – abstained. In the camp of the Republicans, this was perceived as their great victory.
Now the case is moving to the Senate, and Trump will be removed only if two-thirds of its members speak for it. The likelihood of this is very small, since the Republican Party has the majority there, which so far maintains unity around the president. For removal, 20 Republican senators voted in favor. In the near future, Nancy Pelosi should determine who will be delegated from the House of Representatives to hearings in the Senate in the role of the so-called managers, who, in essence, will carry out prosecutorial functions.
Trump became the third ever impeached US president. It was first announced in 1868 to Andrew Johnson, who was immediately accused of 11 points related to his personnel policy. The second time this happened in 1998 (a day later than Trump’s, December 19), when the House of Representatives voted for two of four accusations against Clinton – sworn perjury (he denied having sexual relations with White House trainee Monica Lewinsky) and obstruction of justice. Neither Johnson nor Clinton ended up losing their post, since less than two-thirds of the senators voted for their resignation. President Richard Nixon voluntarily resigned before voting in the House of Representatives – he was accused of illegally tapping the Democratic Party’s campaign headquarters.