After hours of short speeches, the US House of Representatives voted Wednesday evening to impeach President Donald Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of justice.
The historic vote followed party lines with Republicans voting against impeachment and only one independent voting for it. Two Democrats, Representatives Collin Peterson and Jeff Van Drew, opposed the first article on abuse of power, leaving a final vote 230 to 197. On the second Article, for obstruction of justice, the final vote was 229 to 198 with another Democrat, Representative Jared Golden, joining those opposed to impeachment.
Democratic presidential candidate, Representative Tulsi Gabbard, voted present on both articles. In a statement, Gabbard expressed support for continuing the impeachment inquiry but maintained concerns about “further divid[ing] our already badly divided country.”
In response to the impeachment process, Trump sent a six-page letter on Tuesday to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. In his letter, he called the impeachment “an unprecedented and unconstitutional abuse of power,” that was nothing more than an “illegal, partisan coup.”
This vote triggers a trial in the Senate, which will be overseen by Chief Justice John Roberts. It is expected that the trial will begin in January.
Trump is only the third US president to be impeached. Andrew Johnson was impeached in 1868, and Bill Clinton was impeached in 1998.