The House of Representatives on Wednesday impeached a president of the United States for only the third time in American history, charging that President Donald Trump abused his power when he tried to shake down the president of Ukraine in exchange for a personal political favour, then obstructed Congress as they tried to investigate his actions.
The vote to impeach Trump on the first of two articles of impeachment came at 8:09 p.m local time and fell along party lines with only two members breaking Democratic ranks.
Rep. Jeff Van Drew, of New Jersey and Minnesota Rep. Collin Peterson, voted no on the first article of impeachment as did every Republican member in the chamber. Democrat Tulsi Gabbard, Hawaii, a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, voted present.
Trump was impeached on two articles. The first vote, 230-197, was to impeach him for abuse of power and was almost entirely on party lines; it was followed quickly by a second 229-198 vote that the president obstructed Congress.
The second vote, on article two of the articles of impeachment, obstruction of Congress, was passed on a voice vote. Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-New York, called for a recorded vote. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, called for a five-minute vote.
On the second article of impeachment, the vote was 229 to 198, with Gabbard voting present. Drew and Peterson again voted no as did Rep. Jared Golden of Maine.
The votes followed a day filled with contentious debate despite an outcome that appeared all but certain in both the House and the Senate.
Democrats began the process that led to Wednesday’s vote in September when they launched an impeachment inquiry after a whistleblower alleged Trump tried to leverage military aid and a White House meeting in exchange for an announcement by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden for the younger Biden’s ties to a Ukrainian energy company