Just the basics: A quick look at Trump’s impeachment | CBC News


Just the basics: A quick look at Trump’s impeachment | CBC News

Donald Trump became the third U.S. president to be impeached as the House of Representatives formally charged him on two counts on Wednesday.

The first count charges him with abuse of power for allegedly pressuring the president of Ukraine to investigate his Democratic rivals while crucial U.S. security aid was being withheld. The second charges him with obstruction of Congress for stonewalling investigative efforts.

The votes set up a trial in the Republican-controlled Senate, where lawmakers must decide whether to convict Trump and remove him from office.

Watch the moment Trump gets impeached:

The U.S. House of Representatives has impeached President Donald Trump, marking just the third time the legislative body has voted to recommend removing a sitting president from office. 0:15

How the votes played out

The historic votes split predominantly along party lines; the first vote passed 230 to 197 Wednesday evening, with one member voting present — registering neither for nor against — while the second passed 229 to 198, again with one member voting present.

The member who voted present on both counts was Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard who is currently running for president.

“I could not in good conscience vote against impeachment because I believe President Trump is guilty of wrongdoing,” the Hawaii congresswoman wrote in a lengthy statement. “I also could not in good conscience vote for impeachment because removal of a sitting President must not be the culmination of a partisan process, fuelled by tribal animosities that have so gravely divided our country.”

Two Democrats voted against the first article: Rep. Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey, who is considering switching parties to become a Republican, and Rep. Collin Peterson of Minnesota, whose district went overwhelmingly for Trump in 2016. Those two and freshman Democratic Rep. Jared Golden of Maine also voted against the second article.

Notable quotes 

“December 18th — a great day for the Constitution of the United States, a sad one for America that the president’s reckless activities necessitate us having to introduce articles of impeachment.”

“If we do not act now, we would be derelict in our duty.”

Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives

The U.S. House Speaker addresses the media following votes to impeach U.S. President Donald Trump 1:04

“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? What did you say?'”

Rep. John Lewis, Democrat from Georgia

“By the way, it doesn’t really feel like we’re being impeached. The country is doing better than ever before. We did nothing wrong.”

President Donald Trump

‘By the way, it doesn’t really feel like we’re being impeached,’ Trump said after the House voted to impeach him. 0:32

“During that sham trial, Pontius Pilate afforded more rights to Jesus than Democrats have afforded this president in this process.”

Rep. Barry Loudermilk, Republican from Georgia

What comes next

Barring unexpected developments, Trump will face a trial in the Senate to determine whether he should be convicted and ousted from office when Congress returns to Washington in early January.

The Senate is controlled by Trump’s fellow Republicans, who have shown little sign they will find him guilty. A two-thirds majority of those present in the 100-member chamber would be needed to convict Trump. U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts would preside over the trial.

However. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi threw some uncertainty into the impeachment process by refusing to say, repeatedly, when or whether she would send two articles to the Senate for a trial. Until the articles are submitted, the Senate cannot hold the trial that is nearly certain to acquit the president.

Pelosi said House Democrats could not name impeachment managers — House prosecutors who make the case for Trump’s conviction and removal from office — until they know more about how the Senate will conduct a trial.

They might name those lawmakers on Thursday before leaving Washington for the holidays — or they could wait until next year.

Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, left, rejected a push to call top White House officials for a potential Senate trial from Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer. (Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters)

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and the chamber’s top Democrat, Chuck Schumer, have staked out dramatically different views on how the trial should play out. Expect them to negotiate in private and through the news media in the coming days.

By saying she wants a fairer Senate process than one McConnell has been hinting at, Pelosi could be applying pressure on McConnell to speed up talks with Schumer and allow administration witnesses to testify during the trial.

Rhode Island Rep. David Cicilline, a member of Pelosi’s leadership team, said after her remarks that Democrats want impeachment proceedings that are “judicious and responsible and deliberative.”

Asked about never sending the articles over, Cicilline said: “I would not speculate that anyone’s even contemplating that.”


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