Former steak salesman and resident dumbass Donald Trump has been impeached for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, making him the third U.S. president to ever face the sanction.
The House of Representatives spent most of Wednesday debating the two articles of impeachment, which stem from Trump's July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. According to the phone call transcript, Trump urged Zelensky to investigate his political opponent Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, who received a seat on a Ukrainian gas company’s board of directors in 2014. Hunter took the position, from which he reportedly earned $50,000 a month, shortly after then-Vice President Biden helped ramp up anti-corruption forces in Ukraine.
The phone call, which was reported by a whistleblower within the U.S. intelligence community, took place at least a week before Trump had froze about $400 million in military aid for Ukraine. This detail led to allegations of quid pro quo, extortion, and bribery.
House Democrats launched an impeachment inquiry back in September, in an attempt to corroborate the whistleblower's complaint. After months of testimony and debates, the House announced two articles of impeachment against Trump: the first charged POTUS with abuse of power (using Congress-approved aid for his own political gain), and the second was for obstruction of Congress (refusing to comply with subpoenas for testimony and documents).
The abuse of power article was approved, 230-197, with one Democrat, presidential candidate and Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard voting "present." The second article for obstruction of Congress, was approved 229-198. The only other presidents to be impeached were Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998. Richard Nixon was on track to getting impeached but resigned before it could happen.
Now that he's been impeached by the House, Trump will be tried in the Senate. All 100 Senators will act as jurors. Due to Republicans having a majority, it's unlikely that two-thirds (or 67 votes) of the Senate will vote for convicting and removing Trump from office.
Some on the left are concerned that the impeachment could benefit Trump in the 2020 election, as he could point to his likely acquittal as another victory against Democrats; however, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has not committed to delivering articles of impeachment to the Senate: "That would have been our intention, but we’ll see what happens over there," she said following the vote.
Democrats have pressured Pelosi to withhold the articles to ensure a fair impeachment trial in the Senate. The move could potentially force Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to agree to the Democrats' demands, such as bringing witnesses like acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and former national security adviser John Bolton to testify. If McConnell refuses, the Senate trial could be delayed indefinitely, thus denying Trump the expected acquittal.
On Tuesday, the president sent a rambling six-page letter to Pelosi in which he claimed the existence of something called "Trump Derangement Syndrome" and stated "more due process was afforded to those accused in the Salem Witch Trials."
Pelosi said Wednesday's vote marked "a great day for the Constitution" but "a sad one for America."
"I could not be prouder or more inspired by the moral courage of the House Democrats," she said Wednesday night. "We never asked one of them how they were going to vote. We never whipped this vote ... I view this day, this vote, as something that we did to honor the vision of our founders to establish a republic, the sacrifice of our men and women in uniform to defend our democracy and the republic, and the aspirations of our children that they will always live in a democracy, and we have tried to do everything we can to make sure that that is their reality."
Republicans, including Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, argued on Wednesday that any impeachment efforts against Trump were part of their efforts to "influence the 2020 elections."
Pushing back against assertions from Republican critics—namely, Rep. Chris Stewart—that attempting to impeach Trump was based on a specific "hate" for Trump, Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas said on Wednesday "I hate no woman or man."
Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu summarized the historical importance of Wednesday's vote, noting that the eyes of future generations were on those tasked with this decision and highlighting the fact that—regardless of the ultimate outcome—the events of the day would follow Trump around forever.
"Our children are watching," Lieu said. "No president ever wants to be impeached. Whether Donald Trump leaves in one month, one year, or five years, this impeachment is permanent. It will follow him around for the rest of his life and the history books and people will know why we impeached."
Meanwhile, Trump did that thing he's particularly fond of in which he tweeted in all caps whilst conflating himself with America as a whole:
Trump also addressed the impeachment during his Wednesday night rally in Michigan, bizarrely reiterating his claims that he did nothing wrong and that Democrats were "cheapening" the impeachment process.
"And now, anybody who becomes president, they could have a phone call, and they get impeached," he told the crowd. "... It's cheapened it. It's exactly what our Founding Father's didn't want."