US House impeaches President Donald Trump for abuse of power, obstruction of Congress

A final vote in the Republican-held Senate will decide if he will be removed from office.
US House impeaches President Donald Trump for abuse of power, obstruction of Congress
US House impeaches President Donald Trump for abuse of power, obstruction of Congress
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Lawmakers in the US House of Representatives voted on Wednesday to impeach US President Donald Trump. The result was widely expected and the case will now advance to a trial in the Senate. 

In a 10-hour debate leading up to the vote, lawmakers argued for and against two articles of impeachment alleging abuse of power and obstruction of Congress related to the president's dealings in Ukraine.

Click here to relive the events as they happened: +++ US House votes on impeaching Trump - live updates +++

In the first of two votes held Wednesday evening, 230 Democratic lawmakers delivered the simple majority necessary to bring impeachment charges against the president for Article 1, abuse of power. 

Two Democratic lawmakers voted against Article 1 and three voted against Article 2, obstruction of Congress. All Republican lawmakers voted against impeachment in both votes. 

Trump is the third president in US history to be impeached. Impeachment is the process whereby Congress brings charges against civil officials of the US government who allegedly committed crimes. 

The case advances to the Senate

The case will now advance to a trial in the 100-seat Senate, where a two-thirds majority is necessary for a conviction. A conviction would result in the president being removed from office. The Republican majority is expected to acquit the president in a trial set to begin in January 2020.

Democrats accuse Trump of withholding military aid and a White House visit to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate his political rival Joe Biden and his son Hunter for his own political gain. He is also accused of obstructing Congress by refusing to cooperate with the impeachment investigation.

White House reacts

Following the decisive vote, the White House expressed optimism about the next phase of the proceedings. 

Trump "is prepared for the next steps and confident that he will be fully exonerated" in the Senate trial, said White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham in a statement. 

The president himself was not present in Washington DC for the impeachment deliberations. Instead, he flew Michigan for a rally, taking the stage just minutes before lawmakers in the capital confirmed the impeachment charges. 

"While we're creating jobs and fighting for Michigan, the radical Left in Congress is consumed with envy and hatred and rage, you see what's going on," the president said to the crowds, adding that the Democratic party was "trying to nullify the ballots of tens of millions of patriotic Americans."

Democrats consider delaying Senate trial

In a news conference following the impeachment vote, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi caused confusion by refusing to say when or if she would send the articles of impeachment on to stand trial in the Senate. 

"We'll see what happens," she said, adding that Democratic lawmakers could not appoint impeachment managers until they know what the Senate has planned for the trial. Impeachment managers are the House prosecutors who argue the case against the president. 

"We are not having this discussion. We have done what we set out to do," she said. 

kp/se (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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