A few minutes ago, Donald Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives, becoming only the third president to be impeached in the history of the US.
On the first article that dealt with abuse of power, the vote was 230-197. A few minutes later the second article that dealt with obstruction of justice, passed by a vote of 229-198. For both votes, one person voted ‘present’. (There are 233 Democrats, 197 Republicans, one Independent, and four seats vacant. This means that three votes are unaccounted four in the final tally.)
Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard was the one who voted ‘present’ for both articles and has explained her reasoning in a tweet.
Here’s her statement pic.twitter.com/Ky948XxILC
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) December 19, 2019
Democratic congresspersons Jeff Van Drew (who was backed in his congressional race by the Democratic party leadership but has voted with the Republicans on key issues and is expected to switch to the Republican party after this vote) voted against both articles. Another Democratic congressperson Collin Peterson has also voted no on both. A third Jared Golden voted in favor of the first article but against the second.
The next stage is for the House of Representatives to forward the articles to the Senate that will then conduct a ‘trial’ with the Chief Justice John Roberts presiding. I put the word ‘trial’ in ironic quotes because the majority leader Republican Mitch McConnell has made it perfectly clear that it will not be like a trial at all, if by that we mean a process by which the members of the Senate try to arrive at an impartial judgment after examining the evidence. Instead he has in fact admitted proudly that he is working in close collaboration with the accused to make sure that the process ends quickly with an acquittal.
Remember, folks, the US Senate boasts proudly, in typical self-congratulatory fashion, that it is the world’s greatest deliberative body. That has always been a laughable claim but this process has made it even more manifestly so.
Some are urging the speaker Nancy Pelosi to delay forwarding the article of impeachment to the Senate until McConnell agrees to better terms for the conduct of the ‘trial’. It is clear that Trump wants to be acquitted so that he can proclaim victory. Withholding the articles and just keeping the impeachment article over his head without a ‘trial’ would likely irritate him no end.
Meanwhile, a whole host of newspapers have endorsed the idea of impeaching Trump, though in this day and age it is not clear how much that will sway people.
What do these newspapers have in common?
Salt Lake Tribune
Tampa Bay Times
NY Daily News
Their editorial boards have all called for impeachment.
— Robert Reich (@RBReich) December 15, 2019