Posted: Thursday, December 19, 2019. 6:49 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: On mostly party-line votes, President of the United States Donald J. Trump was impeached Wednesday night in the House of Representatives and now faces trial in the Senate.
The first article, concerning abuse of power, passed 230 to 197 with one congresswoman, Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, voting “present” (abstaining). The second, concerning obstruction of Congress’ investigation, passed 229 to 198, with Gabbard again voting “present.” Two other members were absent.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi shushed some Democrats who clapped after she announced the result.
Attention now moves to the Senate, where Democrats and Republicans must now agree on how the Senate trial will be held.
According to the BBC, Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already said there is no chance the Senate will convict Trump. He has also indicated that he could use the Republican majority to end the trial early without witness testimony. The Republicans hold a 53-47 majority.
Meanwhile, Speaker Pelosi has suggested the House could delay sending the articles of impeachment to the Senate. This could put off the trial for an indefinite period, denying Trump his expected acquittal.
In remarks today, McConnell called the result the “most rushed, least thorough and most unfair” in history, accusing his colleagues of letting their “partisan rage” create a “toxic precedent that will echo into the future.” He added that their minds were well made up and this was “an impeachment in search of articles” which took far less time than the impeachment investigations into President Bill Clinton, later acquitted, and President Richard Nixon, who resigned before charges could be laid.
Chuck Schumer, the Senate’s leading Democrat, said McConnell had conspicuously failed to defend President Trump’s actions.
“The Republican leader could not rebut the accusations against the president. He did not advance an argument in defense of the president’s conduct on the merits, that in itself is a damning indictment of the state of the president’s defense,” he said, according to the BBC.
He also criticized the idea that the impeachment trial could take place without witnesses being heard, asking for a “fair and speedy” trial, with four witnesses being called and time limits on each stage of the process.
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