Donald Trump has become the third president in the history of the United States to face formal impeachment proceedings.
The 45th president could now be ousted from office after 230 members of the House of Representatives, also known as the House, voted to probe his alleged abuse of power on Wednesday evening. A further 197 voted against that article (charge), with a 216 majority required to impeach.
A vote to impeach Trump on an obstruction of justice charge has also since passed with 229 in favor and 198 against, with Trump now set to face a trial in the Senate next month which could ultimately see him booted from the White House.
A total of 228 Democrats, and two independents voted to impeach on the abuse office charge.
One Democrat, Hawaiian Representative Tulsi Gabard voted present on both charges – equivalent to abstention. She has also been a vocal critic of impeachment proceedings.
Two Democrat Representatives – Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey and Collin Peterson of Minnesota, voted with Republicans against both articles of impeachment. Another Democrat, Representative Jared Golden of Maine, voted yes on abuse of power and no on obstruction of Congress.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi banged her gavel to confirm the result of the first vote – and quickly shot her fellow Democrats a warning look and hand gesture. That was interpreted as a plea not to applaud, for fear of further inflaming Trump supporters’ claims that the proceedings are nothing more than a baseless ‘witch hunt’ against the president.
The historic result was announced at the US Capitol in Washington DC after six hours of fiery debate between Democrats and Republicans, as Trump attended a 2020 reelection rally in Battle Creek, Michigan, having yesterday likened the impeachment to the Salem Witch Trials.
He raged against the vote on Twitter Wednesday afternoon, writing: ‘SUCH ATROCIOUS LIES BY THE RADICAL LEFT, DO NOTHING DEMOCRATS.
‘THIS IS AN ASSAULT ON AMERICA, AND AN ASSAULT ON THE REPUBLICAN PARTY!!!!’
But Trump appeared far more relaxed during his appearance in Battle Creek, laughing and smiling as he told supporters: ‘It doesn’t feel like we’re being impeached.’
‘The country is doing better than ever before. ‘We did nothing wrong. ‘We did nothing wrong. ‘And we have tremendous support in the Republican Party like we’ve never had before.’