President Donald Trump Impeached for Abuse of Power and Obstruction of Congress After Marathon Debate
The House of Representatives voted to impeach President Donald Trump for high crimes and misdemeanors, accusing him of betraying the country for his own political benefit and recommending the Senate remove him from office.
In a 230 to 197 vote, with one vote of "present," Democratic lawmakers handed down the severest form of punishment available to the House under the Constitution, approving the first article of impeachment for abuse of power after a marathon debate on Wednesday. Lawmakers will soon vote to approve the second article, obstruction of Congress, in a separate vote.
Mr. Trump is just the third president in the 231-year history of the republic to be impeached, joining Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton, both of whom were acquitted in subsequent Senate trials. Mr. Trump appears headed for the same fate, with Republicans in the upper chamber eager to clear him of wrongdoing when Congress returns in the new year.
The impeachment votes are the culmination of months of investigation by House Democrats into the president's efforts to pressure the government of Ukraine to pursue investigations that would benefit him politically, including a probe into a company that employed the son of former Vice President Joe Biden, one of the president's chief potential rivals in his 2020 reelection bid.
The White House refused to cooperate with the inquiry in any capacity, a position that formed the basis for the second article of impeachment.
The process has laid bare deep divisions between the parties and among the American electorate as a whole, with the president and Republicans staunchly defending his actions and accusing the Democrats of a partisan witch hunt to remove him from office. Democrats have portrayed the president as an urgent threat who is actively seeking foreign assistance to benefit his own reelection.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi opened the day of debate by saying the president brought impeachment on himself, describing him as a threat to the Constitution whose conduct must not go unpunished.
"It is tragic that the president's reckless actions make impeachment necessary. He gave us no choice," she said on the House floor.
This story was originally published by CBS News on Dec. 18 at 5:38 p.m. PT.
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