As was 100% expected, the House has voted to impeach President Trump (for abuse of power), who joins Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton as the only presidents to be impeached since the adoption of the Constitution in 1788.
It all began just after midday with the following…
“Today, as speaker of the House, I solemnly and sadly open the debate on the impeachment of the president of the United States,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi said from the House floor shortly after noon.
“It is tragic that the president’s reckless actions make impeachment necessary. He gave us no choice.”
And ended just over eight hours later
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy closes: “He is president today, he’ll be president tomorrow and he will be president when this impeachment over.”
Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) closes: “All of us feel a sense of loyalty to party. It’s what makes our two-party system function. But party loyalty must have its limits…it has become increasingly clear that the limits of partisanship have been reached and passed.”
And the result after 219 speakers from both sides of the aisle today, as most expected, all Republicans voted against impeachment, all Democrats except three voted for the first article of impeachment…
Article 1 – Abuse Of Power – vote 230 in favor, 197 opposed, 1 present:
All Republicans voted against impeachment, all Democrats except four voted for the second article of impeachment…
Article 2 – Obstruction – vote:
Tulsi Gabbard voted “present” while New Jersey Rep. Jeff Van Drew, who’s in the process of becoming a Republican; and Minnesota Rep. Collin Peterson, who represents what’s considered the country’s most conservative Democratic district, both broke ranks and voted against impeachment.
…and Michigan Rep. Justin Amash (the sole Independent member of the House) voted for impeachment.
The question now is simple – will Pelosi keep the articles to herself (to avoid the spectacle of utter defeat in the Senate)? Or pass them on for what McConnell has called a quick decision.
What the Constitution says about what happens next
A president who has been impeached by the House can still serve as president. It’s up to the Senate to hold a trial to decide whether to remove him from office. The two other presidents impeached by the House, Bill Clinton and Andrew Johnson, were both acquitted by the Senate.
The Constitution only says that the Senate has to hold a trial, with the senators sitting as jurors, House lawmakers serving as prosecutors known as managers and the chief justice of the United States presiding over it. They must take a public vote, and two-thirds of senators present must agree on whether to convict the president and thus remove him from office. But the Constitution doesn’t lay out exactly how to hold a trial.
But, as WaPo reports, a group of House Democrats is pushing Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other leaders to withhold the articles of impeachment against President Trump that are expected to emerge on Wednesday, potentially delaying a Senate trial for months.
The notion of impeaching Trump but holding the articles in the House has gained traction among some on the political left as a way of potentially forcing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to conduct a trial on more favorable terms for Democrats.
And if no agreement is reached, some have argued, the trial could be delayed indefinitely, denying Trump an expected acquittal.