By Zach Hagadone
A simple majority of U.S. House members voted Dec. 18 to impeach President Donald Trump, making him only the third chief executive in United States history to be impeached by the House of Representatives.
The impeachment centers on Trump’s alleged pressure on Ukraine to open investigations into the family of Democratic presidential candidate and former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, for their business dealings in the country in exchange for military aid. Democrats, led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., brought two articles of impeachment: the first for abuse of power in the alleged “quid pro quo” with Ukraine and the second for obstruction of Congress in refusing to cooperate with the House investigation into the matter.
Of 435 seats in the House, four are vacant. Two members were absent for the vote and one skipped the proceedings. As such 428 House members participated in the historic debate, though — predictably — the final tally broke along strict partisan lines. Among the total Democrats on hand, 230 voted in favor of impeaching Trump for abuse of power. They were joined by the sole independent in the House, Michigan Rep. Justin Amash. Every Republican — totaling 197 — voted “nay” while New Jersey Democratic Rep. Jefferson Van Drew, who plans to switch allegiances, joined his future Republican Party members in voting “nay.” Hawaii Democrat, and presidential hopeful, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard voted “present,” later stating “What’s the point?” of impeachment, considering that the Republican-majority Senate is unlikely to vote for indictment and removal from office.
For the article charging obstruction of Congress, 229 Democrats voted “yea.” Van Drew voted “nay,” as did Maine Democratic Rep. Jared Golden Again, Gabbard voted “present.” Republicans voted in bloc, bringing the total vote to 229-198.
As expected, Idaho House members Russ Fulcher and Mike Simpson voted against both articles of impeachment. Here are excerpts of their statements issued following the vote:
“Today, a stain will be left on the history of the U.S. House of Representative,” Fulcher wrote, “one which neither fact nor time will be able to wipe clean. Like other blights on history, this one is self-induced by the selfish ambition of mankind.
“Having found themselves more desiring of power than service, the stewards of a once-honorable democrat party have weaponized the congressional process — one that was intended for liberty — in a desperate attempt to remove an American President and gain more control.
“Although the attempt will ultimately fail, the stain will remain. And so it is.
“Now, the responsibility for any positive mitigation lies with our nation’s parents and grandparents, to use this stain as a tool for teaching — and to explain to future Americans such that this will never happen again.”
Simpson wrote: “Unfortunately, this vote does more damage than good and further divides our country. A group of Democrats, Members of the House and my colleagues, have taken their displeasure with the results of the 2016 presidential election and plunged our nation into a vicious debate, one that started before the President was even sworn into office. Facts are sacrificed for political grandstanding, the personal character of opponents is impugned, and the media tells whichever side of the story it prefers. Speaker Nancy Pelosi set a requirement that for impeachment to proceed, there needed to be bipartisan support. Today, we don’t have bipartisan support for impeachment, in fact, the only bipartisan vote today is AGAINST impeachment. I am gravely disappointed. Introducing articles of impeachment is one of the most solemn powers of Congress, ranking in importance alongside the power to declare war.”
Senator Mike Crapo has repeatedly told reporters that he sees no impeachable offenses in Trump’s conduct while representatives for Sen. Jim Risch have only said that the lawmaker is “monitoring these issues and will comment when impeachment proceedings move to the Senate and he has cast his official vote as a juror in those proceedings.”
Trump has been steadfast in his denials of any wrongdoing, taking to his preferred method of communication, Twitter, with a stream of statements, including: “SUCH ATROCIOUS LIES BY THE RADICAL LEFT, DO NOTHING DEMOCRATS. THIS IS AN ASSAULT ON AMERICA, AND AN ASSAULT ON THE REPUBLICAN PARTY!!!!”
According to a poll by Politico and Morning Consult released Dec. 20, 52% of Americans approve of Trump’s impeachment.
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