The U.S. House of Representatives officially impeached President Donald J. Trump Wednesday evening, making him just the third president in the country’s history to be impeached. Both articles of impeachment — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — passed the House.
President Trump joins President Bill Clinton and President Andrew Johnson in receiving the House’s highest rebuke. Both Clinton and Johnson were acquitted by the Senate, which is the likely outcome for President Trump.
While President Richard Nixon faced a Democratic-controlled House and Senate set on impeaching him, he resigned before either chamber could vote on the articles.
The first article of impeachment against Trump, which concerned the president’s abuse of power, passed in a vote of 230-197. Two Democrats, Reps. Collin Peterson (D-MN-07) and Jeff Van Drew (D-NJ-02), voted against the first article while Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI-02) voted present.
Van Drew plans to defect to the Republican Party after casting his vote on impeachment as a Democrat.
The second article, which concerned the president’s obstruction of congress, passed in a vote of 229-198. Rep. Jared Golden (D-ME-02), who represents a district won by Trump in 2016, joined Peterson and Van Drew in voting against the second article while Gabbard again voted present.
No Republicans voted in favor of either article. Rep. Justin Amash, (I-MI-03), who left the Republican Party earlier this year, voted in favor of both articles of impeachment.
House Resolution 755, introduced by Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY-10), declares that “Donald John Trump, President of the United States, is impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA-12) opened the House floor to six hours of general debate before votes were cast.
“Today we are here to defend democracy for the people,” Pelosi said to applause from Democratic lawmakers. “I solemnly and sadly open the debate on the impeachment of the president of the United States.”
It is tragic that the President's reckless actions make impeachment necessary. He gave us no choice. It is a matter of fact that the President is an ongoing threat to our national security and the integrity of our elections, the basis of our democracy. #DefendOurDemocracy pic.twitter.com/fxTLr7I9x3
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) December 18, 2019
Lawmakers spent the next several hours debating the articles of impeachment, each receiving little more than a minute to share their opinions. Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY-04), who voted against the “caustic stunt,” summarized the impeachment debates succinctly.
“Everything’s been said, now everyone wants to say it,” he wrote on Twitter.
Re:100+ impeachment speeches
Everything’s been said, now everyone wants to say it.
— Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) December 18, 2019
Speaker Pelosi arrived at the House chambers wearing all black, a deliberate fashion choice to reflect the solemness of the day, she told reporters. She was spotted holding hands with Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI-12) as they made their way to the House floor.
“The times have found us. Thank you for strong leadership and an empathetic hand,” Dingell wrote on Twitter.
— Rep. Debbie Dingell (@RepDebDingell) December 18, 2019
President Trump sent a letter to Speaker Pelosi on the eve of the impeachment vote to express his “strongest and most powerful protest against the partisan impeachment crusade.”
“This impeachment represents an unprecedented and unconstitutional abuse of power by Democrat Lawmakers, unequaled in nearly two and a half centuries of American legislative history. The Articles of Impeachment introduced by the House Judiciary Committee are not recognizable under any standard of Constitutional theory, interpretation, or jurisprudence,” the president said in his letter.
“They include no crimes, no misdemeanors, and no offenses whatsoever. You have cheapened the importance of the very ugly word, impeachment! By proceeding with your invalid impeachment, you are violating your oaths of office, you are breaking your allegiance to the Constitution, and you are declaring open war on American Democracy,” he continued.
On the morning of the impeachment vote, President Trump said on Twitter that “this should never happen to another president again” and asked his followers to “say a prayer.”
Can you believe that I will be impeached today by the Radical Left, Do Nothing Democrats, AND I DID NOTHING WRONG! A terrible Thing. Read the Transcripts. This should never happen to another President again. Say a PRAYER!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 18, 2019
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA-23) introduced a resolution Wednesday morning to condemn the actions of Nadler and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA-28), chairmen of the committees tasked with investigating impeachment. McCarthy’s resolution accuses them of “willfully and intentionally” violating the rules of the House “by abusing and exceeding their powers as Chairmen of Committees.”
HAPPENING NOW → Chairmen Adam Schiff and Jerry Nadler have abused their power. I am calling for a vote on a privileged resolution to condemn their actions. pic.twitter.com/UaMfXBnGlg
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) December 18, 2019
Throughout the impeachment process, Republican leadership has been applying significant pressure to the “Dirty 30,” the 31 Democrats in the House who represent districts carried by the president in 2016. In Minnesota, that includes Reps. Angie Craig (D-MN-02) and Collin Peterson (D-MN-07), whose district went to Trump by more than 30 percentage points in 2016.
Other Midwest states such as Michigan have similar congressional scenarios. Reps. Haley Stevens (D-MI-11) and Elissa Slotkin (D-MI-08) represent Trump-won districts. Slotkin’s district supported President Trump by a definitive seven percentage points while Stevens’ district picked Trump by a five percentage point margin.
Craig, Stevens, and Slotkin all voted in favor of both articles of impeachment. Peterson voted against impeachment and was open about his disagreement with the process, but Republicans think he did not do enough to stand up to his Democratic colleagues.
Donald Trump Jr. told his four million followers on Twitter this week to call the swing-district Democrats “non-stop, tweet at them,” and “tell them this will not stand.”
Enough! These Democrats in Trump districts said they were with @realDonaldTrump. They lied! – Now now its time to hear from OUR MOVEMENT. Here’s a complete thread of their handles & phone #s. Call non-stop, tweet at them, tell them this will NOT STAND & you’ll remember in Nov! RT
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) December 14, 2019
Internal polling from the Trump campaign surveyed voters in the districts of the “Dirty 30” and found that just 36 percent of respondents believe their Democratic representatives should be reelected. Only 43 percent of respondents said they support the impeachment efforts.
Brad Parscale, campaign manager for Trump’s reelection bid, was straight to the point when offering his thoughts on impeachment.
“I will be asked by reporters what I think about today, here you go: scam, hoax, theater, deception, con. Pick one and use it in your fake news reporting about the Democrats,” he wrote on Twitter. “Today they might cheer, but Donald Trump will make them cry in November … again!”
I will be asked by reporters what I think about today, here you go:
Pick one and use it in your #FakeNews reporting about the Democrats.
Today they might cheer, but @realDonaldTrump will make them cry in November… again!
— Brad Parscale (@parscale) December 18, 2019
Tim Murtaugh, communications director for the reelection campaign, pointed to a new Gallup poll that found Trump’s approval rating is up six points since the launch of the impeachment inquiry.
“Not the news Democrats wanted to wake up to on impeachment day, but it’s what they’ve wrought,” said Murtaugh.
Not the news Democrats wanted to wake up to on Impeachment Day, but it’s what they’ve wrought.@realDonaldTrump is on the rise again while a majority of Americans oppose the sham impeachment.
— Tim Murtaugh (@TimMurtaugh) December 18, 2019
Ari Fleischer, former Whiter House press secretary for President George W. Bush, asked his followers if they noticed “what’s not happening on Capitol Hill today.”
“Unlike the Kavanaugh hearings where disrupters went wild, shouting and getting arrested all over the place, it’s not happening with impeachment,” he said. “The right is ignoring this waste of time/not acting like the left. That’s good.”
Anyone notice what's not happening on Capitol Hill today? Unlike the Kavanaugh hearings where disrupters went wild, shouting and getting arrested all over the place, it's not happening w impeachment. The right is ignoring this waste of time/not acting like the left. That's good.
— Ari Fleischer (@AriFleischer) December 18, 2019
Jeff Webb, founder of the New American Populist, which is targeting Democrats in Trump-won districts, released a statement on the eve of impeachment.
“The sole purpose of this partisan and divisive rush to impeach President Trump is to reverse the results of the free and fair election of an American president, the first in 30 years to take up the mantle of the middle class,” he said. “It is a reckless abuse of power by the intolerant and dishonest Democrat leadership of the House of Representatives, aided and abetted by the cowardice of those members of Congress who readily follow the orders handed down to them without questioning the serious damage their actions are doing to the country.”
House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA-01) said impeaching President Trump was the Democratic Party’s plan “from day one.”
“More than 100 Dems had already voted to impeach the president before the Ukraine call even took place,” he said. “They’re not somber. They’re not thoughtful. They’re trying to settle a political score. Period.”
Make no mistake → Impeaching @realDonaldTrump was the Dems' plan from Day 1.
More than 100 Dems had already voted to impeach the President before the Ukraine call even took place.
They're not somber. They're not thoughtful. They're trying to settle a political score. Period. pic.twitter.com/3SNvMMM3iB
— Steve Scalise (@SteveScalise) December 18, 2019
Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel responded to the impeachment vote in an op-ed for The Daily Caller.
“Democrats have betrayed themselves and their country by trivializing the constitutional power of impeachment and using it as a political weapon,” she said. “History will prove them wrong, and President Trump will carry on continuing the era of American greatness.”
President Trump spoke at a “Merry Christmas Rally” on the night of his impeachment in Battle Creek, Michigan.
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News, The Ohio Star, and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Background Photo “Impeachment Vote” by CSPAN.