ROCKVILLE – After months of hearings, the House of Representatives voted to impeach President Donald J. Trump on Dec. 18.
The House approved two articles of impeachment against the president, charging him with abuse of power and obstructing Congress. For the first article, abuse of power, the House voted 230 to 197. For the second article, obstruction of Congress, the House voted 229 to 198.
Like most of the House, the Maryland Congressional delegation voted along party lines with the state’s sole Republican Representative, Andy Harris, voting against impeachment.
“The President’s continuing course of conduct constitutes a clear and present danger to democracy in America,” Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) said. “We cannot allow this misconduct to pass. It would be a sellout of our Constitution, our foreign policy, our national security, and our democracy.”
The impeachment charges relate to Trump’s delay of military aid to Ukraine with Democratic members of the House accusing Trump of delaying the assistance to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden, one of the president’s political rivals.
Trump frequently criticized the House investigation into his conversations with Zelensky, describing his phone call with the Ukrainian president about military aid as “perfect.”
“I don’t feel like I’m being impeached because it’s a hoax, it’s a setup, it’s a horrible thing they did,” Trump said. “They happen to have a small majority, and they took that small majority, and they forced people.”
In September, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), initiated an impeachment inquiry after a whistleblower complaint with concerns about Trump’s phone call with Zelensky surfaced, questioning whether Trump tried to pressure Ukraine to investigate Biden.
Shortly after, Trump released a memorandum of the July phone call with Zelensky where Trump asked the Ukrainian president to look into whether Biden, the former vice president, pressured the Ukrainian government to fire a prosecutor who was investigating Ukrainian-based energy company Burisma Holdings, where his son Hunter Biden served on the board.
Republicans said Trump mentioned Biden in the call with Zelensky because he was concerned about corruption in Ukraine. Democrats allege that the president attempted to use the power of the president to get a foreign leader to investigate a political rival in the lead-up to a presidential election.
“The facts are clear. Witness testimony and other evidence show that the President asked a foreign power to intervene on his behalf in our election process,” said Rep. David Trone (D-Md). “In doing so, he put his own personal political ambition before the common good of the country, our people, and the Constitution.”
Republicans said that there is no underlying crime with the impeachment and that the articles that the House voted to impeach Trump under are vague.
“The articles of impeachment passed on a purely partisan vote by the Democrats prove what a partisan stunt this impeachment sham really is,” said Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.). “The only abuse of power, as Professor (Jonathan) Turley testified last week, is on the part of the House majority pursuing impeachment with no basis in fact.”
While the House voted to impeach the president, Pelosi said she would wait to send the articles of impeachment over the Senate, waiting to see what the process will be in the Senate. Under the Constitution, the House only needs a simple majority vote to impeach a president. However, a two-thirds majority in the Senate is required to remove a president from office.
While Trump becomes the third president in U.S. history to be impeached, after Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton, he is the first to be impeached when different parties control different chambers of Congress.
“We can’t name managers until we see what the process is on the Senate side, and I would hope that would be soon. So far, we haven’t seen anything that looks fair to us,” Pelosi said.
At the moment, it is unclear how the Republican-controlled Senate will handle the impeachment trial with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) saying he and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) are at an impasse over the rules for Trump’s trial in the Senate. Prior to the impeachment vote, McConnell said to several media outlets that he planned to work together with Trump’s lawyers before the trial.
“This is what I don’t consider a fair trial,” Pelosi said. “That Leader McConnell has stated that he’s not an impartial juror, that he’s going to take his cues, in quotes, from the White House, and he’s working in total coordination with the White House counsel’s office.”
“Now that the House has completed its constitutional duty, impeachment will move to the Senate,” Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) said. “As we go forward, it’s up to the American people to demand a fair trial. Republican Leader Mitch McConnell’s conduct is already extremely troubling and anything but impartial.”