In a 10-hour debate leading up to the vote, lawmakers argued for and against two articles of impeachment. The first charged teh president with abuse of power in trying to get Ukraine to investigate Democratic Party presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden and the second with obstruction of Congress related to the president’s handling of recent Congressional investigations.
In the first of two votes held Wednesday evening, 230 Democratic lawmakers delivered the simple majority necessary to bring impeachment charges against the president for Article 1, abuse of power.
Two Democratic lawmakers voted against Article 1 and three voted against Article 2, obstruction of Congress. All Republican lawmakers voted against impeachment in both votes.
Trump is the third president in US history to be impeached. Impeachment is the process whereby Congress brings charges against civil officials of the US government for suspected high crimes and misdemeanors.
The case advances to the Senate
The case is now expected to advance to a trial in the 100-seat Senate, where a two-thirds majority is necessary for a conviction. A conviction would result in the president being removed from office. The Republican majority in the Senate is expected to acquit the president in a trial expected to begin in January 2020.
Democrats accuse Trump of withholding military aid and a White House visit to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate his political rival Joe Biden and his son Hunter for his own political gain. He is also accused of obstructing Congress by refusing to cooperate with the impeachment investigation.
White House reacts, president among supporters
Following the decisive vote, the White House expressed optimism about the next phase of the proceedings.
Trump “is prepared for the next steps and confident that he will be fully exonerated” in the Senate trial, said White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham in a statement.