December 19, 2019
From the nation’s Capitol Building, last night The House passed articles of impeachment charging President Donald Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Voting was along party lines, something the country’s Founding Fathers feared. Trump’s impeachment makes him only the third president to face a Senate trial in the deeply partisan lines in Congress.
Nearly all Democrats, led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.), supported abuse-of-power and obstruction-of-Congress charges against Mr. Trump in the wake of his comments in a phone call to Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, his rival Democratic presidential candidate.
The House Republicans swiftly rejected both articles of impeachment, saying Democrats failed to show that Mr. Trump had committed a crime at all and that the entire last three years of hatred toward the president was a flawed process from the beginning.
The vote on the first article was 230 in favor and 197 against, almost entirely along party lines, with one lawmaker, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D., Hawaii), voting present. The tally on the second article was 229 to 198, with Ms. Gabbard again voting present.
Two Democrats crossed party lines on both votes: Reps. Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey and Collin Peterson of Minnesota. Another Democrat, Rep. Jared Golden of Maine, backed the first article but opposed the second. All three lawmakers represent districts carried by Mr. Trump in the 2016 election.
The matter moves next to the Senate for a trial, where a two-thirds vote would be required to remove Mr. Trump from office. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) has said he sees no scenarios in which Mr. Trump would be convicted. Earlier this week, Mr. McConnell rejected a request from Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) to hear from four witnesses—including former national security adviser John Bolton —who had been called by the House, for testimony.
But Republicans got no witnesses during Adam Schiff’s processings and the Republicans aren’t likely to give in at all to any more Democrat’s demands after three years of looking for something to charge the president with from the day he took office.
The impeachment resolution alleged that Mr. Trump pressured Ukraine’s president this summer to announce investigations that would benefit Mr. Trump politically, including by making $391 million in U.S. security aid against Russian aggression contingent on Kyiv going public with investigations. After Mr. Trump’s actions came to light, the resolution charges, he released the aid, but then obstructed the congressional probe into the matter.
House Democrats cast their action as a solemn constitutional responsibility and said they needed to remove Mr. Trump now before he could undermine the 2020 election by soliciting foreign interference.
“Our founders’ vision of a republic is under threat from actions from the White House,” Mrs. Pelosi said ahead of the vote. “It is tragic that the president’s reckless actions make impeachment necessary. He gave us no choice.”
“This was an impeachment in search of a crime, and they never found one,” argued House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R., La.). Impeachment “cannot be based on a vendetta against the president the majority has pursued since the day he was elected,” said Rep. Tom Cole (R., Okla.).
Chief Justice John Roberts would preside at the Senate trial, which is expected to begin sometime after the holidays in January. Republicans control the Senate 53-47, giving them the upper hand in determining the format of the proceedings, but Democrats are hopeful that they may be able to persuade some Republicans to side with them on requesting testimony.
On the streets in polls and interviews, Americans have made it clear they want Congress to get this over with and get back to governing the country, not an endless investigation of the country’s president. Stay tuned.