On Wednesday, December 18, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to impeach President Trump. Both articles of impeachment–abuse of power and obstruction of Congress–were adopted.
Votes were mainly along party lines. No Republican voted for impeachment on either article. Two Democrats, Collin Peterson from Minnesota and Jefferson Van Drew from New Jersey, voted against impeachment on both articles, and Jared Golden (D-ME) voted for impeachment on the first but not the second. Peterson and Drew have both stated that they cannot support impeachment that is obviously partisan. Golden has stated that he thinks there are “legitimate and unresolved constitutional questions about the limits of executive privilege, and that before pursuing impeachment for this charge, the House has an obligation to exhaust all other available options.” All three representatives are from districts that Trump won in 2016.
Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) voted “Present” on both articles to signify that she is neither for nor against impeachment. In a statement, Gabbard stated that she believes that Trump is guilty of wrongdoing, but that the impeachment process has been too partisan for her to support it. Gabbard is not running for reelection in the House, but she is running for President.
What’s next for Trump
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) will appoint a team of “impeachment managers” to argue against President Trump in the Senate. She is likely to choose Adam Schiff, the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, or Jerry Nadler, the chair of the House Judiciary Committee. Another possible choice would be Justin Amash (I-MI), an Independent who voted for impeachment on both articles.
A Senate trial is expected in early January, after Congress comes back from their winter break. Senate Republicans have indicated that they want the trial done as early as possible. Chief Justice of the Supreme Court John Roberts will preside over the trial.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has said that he is not “an impartial juror” and that “[i]mpeachment is a political process.” He and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) have been tasked with working out what witnesses will be called to testify and when. They are unlikely to easily agree. McConnell has already made a speech in which he rejected Schumer’s request that witnesses closely affiliated with Trump testify.
The Senate is made up of 53 Republicans, 45 Democrats, and two Independents who are expected to vote with the Democrats. Assuming that every senator would be present, a party-line vote to remove Trump from office would be 47 in favor and 53 opposed. For Trump to be convicted, however, two thirds of the Senate would need to vote in favor, or 67 senators. Twenty Republicans would have to break ranks with their party, which is unlikely to happen. Trump will most likely be acquitted and allowed to stay in office.
Image credit to MSNBC.