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Published: Wednesday, December 18, 2019 @ 8:35 PM
— In a historic rebuke, the U.S. House on Wednesday approved impeachment charges for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress against President Donald Trump, making him only the third President to be impeached in American history, setting up a trial in the U.S. Senate early next year which in theory could result in his removal from office.
The vote on the abuse of power charge was 230 to 197 with two Democrats joining with all Republicans against the charge. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) voted “Present.”
The vote on the obstruction of Congress charge was 229 to 198, as three Democrats voted “No.” Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) again voted “Present.”
"The President of the United States was willing to sacrifice our national security - by withholding support for a critical strategic partner at war - in order to improve his re-election prospects," said Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), who quoted warnings from Alexander Hamilton about allowing a despot to lead the nation.
After hours of debate, one thing is clear:— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) December 19, 2019
My Republican colleagues don't want to defend the President's conduct. They haven't argued that he did, in fact, uphold his oath of office.
Because President Donald J. Trump's abuse of power and obstruction of Congress is indefensible. pic.twitter.com/IBZED8E3Is
"By his actions, President Trump has broken his oath of office," said Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY).
While Democrats said the President's efforts to get Ukraine to announce investigations related to former Vice President Joe Biden and more were clearly impeachable offenses, Republicans ridiculed the process and the aims of Democrats.
"Since day one, the Democrats have made clear they wanted to move toward impeachment," said Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA), as GOP lawmakers repeatedly said critics of the President were looking for anything to oust him from office.
"The President is the smoking gun," countered Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA).
Rep. John Lewis: "When you see something that is not right, not just, not fair, you have a moral obligation to say something, to do something …. We have a mission and a mandate to be on the right side of history." pic.twitter.com/PWFaudQNOb— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) December 18, 2019
WATCH: Complete remarks from @SpeakerPelosi: "I solemnly and sadly open the debate on the impeachment of the President of the United States."— CSPAN (@cspan) December 18, 2019
Full video here: https://t.co/0AklHmZCqk pic.twitter.com/R9jvdUKXVn
Republicans ridiculed the arguments of Democrats, accusing them of bringing forth a fact-less batch of charges against the President.
"This is a political vendetta," said Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA). "It's been an impeachment in search of a crime."
"This is no way to go about impeaching a President of the United States," said Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK).
"The Democrats' new definition for evidence is allegations.
"The majority has thrown almost every allegation imaginable against this President, and yet these articles of impeachment that have been submitted cannot name a single actual crime," said Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA).
"There was no quid pro quo," Hice and other GOP lawmakers said repeatedly.
Republican speakers also complained again and again that the Democrats had rushed impeachment, and bent the rules along the way.
"The whole thing has been rigged," said Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-AZ).
.@RepLoudermilk: "When Jesus was falsely accused of treason, Pontius Pilate gave Jesus the opportunity to face his accusers. During that sham trial, Pontius Pilate afforded more rights to Jesus than the Democrats have afforded this president in this process." pic.twitter.com/t5z6ExlHDb— CSPAN (@cspan) December 18, 2019
.@RepMattGaetz (R-FL): "With no crime, no victim, no evidence, no proof, no agenda for America, this impeachment charade marches on, following no rules and adhering to no sense of honor."— CSPAN (@cspan) December 18, 2019
Full video: https://t.co/8RMQxkzEFx pic.twitter.com/2A9p4LRn7j
“This impeachment is unfounded and improper,” said House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy, who reminded Democrats that Speaker Pelosi had said impeachment should be bipartisan.