TRUMP IMPEACHED: House of Representatives charges the president with abuse of power
- The House of Representatives impeached President Donald Trump on Wednesday. He is the third president in history to be impeached.
- The chamber is voting on two articles of impeachment against Trump. The first article, charging Trump with abuse of power, passed the House after a majority - 216 lawmakers - voted in favor of it.
- House lawmakers are now voting on the second article of impeachment, which charges Trump with obstruction of Congress and is also expected to pass.
- Both articles relate to Trump's efforts to solicit Ukraine's interference in the 2020 election while withholding vital military aid and a White House meeting that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky desperately sought.
- Next, the impeachment proceedings will go to the Republican-controlled Senate, which is widely expected to acquit the president.
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The Democratic-led House of Representatives voted on Wednesday night to impeach President Donald Trump.
The first article of impeachment against Trump, which charges him with abuse of power, passed the House after a majority of 216 lawmakers voted in favor of it. The final vote on the article is still ongoing, and Insider will update the count as it comes in.
Next, the House will vote on the second article of impeachment, which charges Trump with obstruction of Congress.
Wednesday's historic vote came after about 10 hours of debate.
Both articles are related to Trump's efforts to solicit Ukraine's interference in the 2020 election while withholding vital military aid and a White House meeting that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky desperately wanted.
The catalyst for the impeachment inquiry into Trump was a whistleblower complaint that an anonymous US intelligence official filed against the president in August. The House Intelligence Committee revealed the existence of the complaint in early September and released it days later after receiving the document from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
At the center of the complaint is a July 25, 2019 phone call Trump had with Zelensky, during which he repeatedly pressured Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, over baseless allegations of corruption. Trump also asked his Ukrainian counterpart to look into a bogus conspiracy theory suggesting Ukraine interfered in the 2016 US election.
A cascade of witness testimony since Congress launched its impeachment inquiry revealed that the phone call was just one data point in a months-long pressure campaign spearheaded by Rudy Giuliani, Trump's personal lawyer, at the president's direction. Giuliani also enlisted other government officials in his efforts, including Gordon Sondland, the US's ambassador to the European Union, and Kurt Volker, the US's former special envoy in Ukraine.
Trump has led his party in aggressively fighting the charges and attacking the Democrats directing impeachment. On Tuesday, the president sent a scathing six-page letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in which he detailed his grievances, calling his expected impeachment "a perversion of justice and abuse of power."
"More due process was afforded to those accused in the Salem Witch Trials," Trump wrote, referring to the infamous prosecutions and executions of those accused of witchcraft in the late 1600s.
The president argued that the American people will reject impeachment by voting for him and his party in next year's election.
"I have no doubt the American people will hold you and the Democrats fully responsible in the upcoming 2020 election," Trump wrote. "Your legacy will be that of turning the House of Representatives from a revered legislative body into a Star Chamber of partisan persecution."
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