On Wednesday, December 18, following six hours of debate, the House of Representatives voted to impeach President Donald J. Trump in a highly partisan vote.
Two articles of impeachment were approved. The first, alleging Abuse of Power, contends that, “Using the powers of his high office, President Trump solicited the interference of a foreign government, Ukraine, in the 2020 United States Presidential election.” The second, alleging Obstruction of Congress, contends that, “…without lawful cause or excuse, President Trump directed Executive Branch agencies, offices, and officials not to comply with [Congress’] subpoenas.”
Not a single Republican voted in favor of the articles of impeachment. Democrats, however, saw defections on both articles. Representatives Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey, Jared Golden of Maine and Collin Peterson of Minnesota voted “no” on one or both articles.
Meanwhile, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, a Democratic candidate for president, voted “present” Wednesday on both articles, making her the only member of Congress to do so. Gabbard issued a statement following the votes, which reads, in part, “After doing my due diligence in reviewing the 658-page impeachment report, I came to the conclusion that I could not in good conscience vote either yes or no.
I am standing in the center and have decided to vote Present. I could not in good conscience vote against impeachment because I believe President Trump is guilty of wrongdoing.
I also could not in good conscience vote for impeachment because removal of a sitting President must not be the culmination of a partisan process, fueled by tribal animosities that have so gravely divided our country. When I cast my vote in support of the impeachment inquiry nearly three months ago, I said that in order to maintain the integrity of this solemn undertaking, it must not be a partisan endeavor. Tragically, that’s what it has been.”
On the Democrat side, in her floor speech prior to the vote, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, “It is a matter of fact that the president is an ongoing threat to our national security and the integrity of our elections, the basis of our democracy.”
Following the vote to impeach, more uncertainty was created when Pelosi declined to say when she would be sending the articles of impeachment to the Senate for the trial portion of the process.
On the Republican side, President Donald Trump, attending a rally in Michigan in front of thousands of his supporters, said, ” “It doesn’t really feel like we’re being impeached,” then continued, “The country is doing better than ever before. We did nothing wrong. We did nothing wrong. And we have tremendous support in the Republican party, like we’ve never had before…”
Finally, the White House Press Secretary issued a statement calling the move by House Democrats, “…one of the most shameful political episodes in the history of our Nation.” and, “All of these antics make clear that Democrats have lost sight of what this country needs, which is a Congress that works for the people.” The full text of the White House Press Statement can be seen, here: