President Donald Trump was impeached for abuse of power in a historic vote in the House of Representatives on Wednesday 18th December 2019, setting up a Senate trial on removing him from office after three turbulent years.
By a 230 to 197 vote in the Democratic-majority House, the 45th US president became just the third occupant of the White House in American history to be impeached.
Democrats said they had no choice but to formally charge the 73-year-old Republican, whose impeachment along stark party lines places an indelible stain on his record while driving a spike ever deeper into the US political divide.
“What is at risk here is the very idea of America,” said Adam Schiff, the lawmaker who led the impeachment inquiry, ahead of the vote.
Trump will now stand trial in the Senate where his Republicans hold a solid majority and are expected to exonerate him.
The House vote came four months after a whistleblower blew open the scandal of Trump pressuring Ukraine’s president to investigate his potential White House challenger in 2020, the veteran Democrat Joe Biden.
After a marathon 10-hour debate, lawmakers also voted 229-198 to approve the second article of impeachment facing Trump — for obstructing the congressional probe into his Ukraine dealings.
Trump spent the first part of the day holed up at the White House, tweeting in frustration, but on Wednesday night the president was on friendlier territory.
In an extraordinary split screen moment as the House was casting votes to impeach him, thousands of Trump’s most fervent supporters were cheering him at a rally in Michigan where he railed against a radical left he said was consumed with hatred.
“The Democrats are declaring their deep hatred and disdain for the American voter”, Trump said to boos and cheers.
“They’ve been trying to impeach me from day one. They’ve been trying to impeach me from before I ran”, he said.
“Four more years, four more years” the crowd chanted back.
Despite testimony from 17 officials that Trump leveraged his office for political gain, the president maintained his innocence throughout the impeachment inquiry denouncing it as an attempted coup and an assault on America.