President Donald Trump on Wednesday night — at the exact same time he was speaking to supporters at a huge rally in Battle Creek, Michigan — now joins Presidents Andrew Johnson (impeached in 1868) and Bill Clinton (impeached in 1999) as the third-ever president in United States history to be impeached by the House.
No president, of course, has ever been removed from office as a result of impeachment.
(Richard M. Nixon resigned from office in 1974 before impeachment proceedings could be completed against him.)
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) wrote the two articles of impeachment against Trump, along with House Chairmen Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.).
The articles will go to the Senate for a trial — at which senators will serve as jurors and John Roberts, chief justice of the Supreme Court, will preside.
“This needs to be presented reasonably and rationally … I hope the president will put a legal team together that can present this case [very strongly],” said Sen. Lindsey Graham on Fox News’ “Hannity” program on Wednesday night shortly after the votes. And “we’re going to acquit the president.”
But in a late-breaking development on Wednesday evening, Pelosi warned that the House might not send the articles of impeachment immediately to the Senate — out of concern, supposedly, that Republicans won’t conduct impartial proceedings, as Politico reported shortly after the voting was completed.
See a few early reactions in these tweets below.
— GOP (@GOP) December 19, 2019
Today will be remembered as the day your House Democrat majority voted to impeach President @realDonaldTrump for a crime they couldn’t find and a case they couldn’t prove.
You won’t forget. And neither will we.
— Mark Meadows (@RepMarkMeadows) December 19, 2019
The Democrats can pass articles or write book reports, President Donald J. Trump isn't going anywhere. He won in 2016 and will win again in 2020! # MAGA # KAG
— Diamond and Silk® (@DiamondandSilk) December 19, 2019
Trump himself weighed in on the action by Democrats against him during his raucous rally in Michigan, saying in part, “They’re declaring their hatred and deep disdain for the American voter … Have you seen my polls for the last four weeks? It’s crazy.”
The vote was 230-197 to impeach the president on the first charge — the abuse of power charge.
The vote on the second charge, obstruction of Congress, was 229-198.
Two Dems voted against the first measure; three voted against the second.
Dem presidential candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) voted present for both. She will pay a price for her courage in the Democrat primaries and debates.
During hours of interminable speeches from both sides on Wednesday, the Democrats and GOP laid out their respective cases.
The Democrats charged the president with using his office for political gain and for trying to stop Congress from investigating his actions in regard to Ukraine and military aid.
These charges were brought regardless of the hearsay and secondhand nature of their evidence presented — and the lack of any factual corroboration of their accusations.
The Republicans, however, countered with a strong critique of the factors above and a plea to Democratic colleagues to rise above partisan rancor and do what is best for the country.
Their call fell on deaf ears, as did appeals to logic and reason.
Gabbard released a long statement as to why she voted “present” on the articles of impeachment. Here is a part of that statement, as Fox News shared with readers: “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,” she added, “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.”
The vote on Wednesday and its outcome have been anticipated for some time.
The Senate trial is likely in January, depending on what Pelosi has up her sleeve; if all goes as expected, as this vote did, the national charade staged by the Dems will be over by the end of the month.
Certain Dems, though, have said they would impeach the president again no matter what the result in the Senate. And the show goes on …
This article has been updated with additional information.