WASHINGTON — The House of Representatives on Wednesday impeached President Donald Trump for obstruction of Congress and abuse of power, making him the third president in history to be charged with committing high crimes and misdemeanors and face removal by the Senate.
On a day of constitutional consequence and raging partisan tension, the votes on the two articles of impeachment fell largely along party lines, after a bitter debate that reflected the deep polarization gripping American politics in the Trump era.
All but two Democrats supported the article on abuse of power, which accused Trump of corruptly using the levers of government to solicit election assistance from Ukraine in the form of investigations to discredit his Democratic political rivals. Republicans were united in opposition. It passed 230-197, with Speaker Nancy Pelosi gaveling the vote to a close from the House rostrum.
On the second charge, obstruction of Congress, a third Democrat joined Republicans in opposition. The vote was 229-198.
The vote set the stage for a historic trial beginning early next year in the Senate, which will have final say — 10 months before Trump faces reelection — on whether to acquit the 45th president or convict and remove him from office. Acquittal in the Republican-controlled chamber is likely, but the proceeding is certain to aggravate the political and cultural fault lines in the country that Trump’s presidency has brought into dramatic relief.
On Wednesday, Democrats characterized his impeachment as an urgent action to stop a corrupt president whose misdeeds had unfolded in plain view from damaging the country any further.
“Over the course of the last three months, we have found incontrovertible evidence that President Trump abused his power by pressuring the newly elected president of Ukraine to announce an investigation into President Trump’s political rival,” said Rep. Adam B. Schiff, D-Calif., the Intelligence Committee chairman, who led the impeachment inquiry.
“在過去的三個月，我們發現了無可爭議的證據，表明特朗普總統濫用職權，向新當選的烏克蘭總統施壓，要求他宣布對特朗普總統的政治對手展開調查，”領導彈劾調查的加州民主黨眾議員、情報委員會主席亞當·B·希夫(Adam B. Schiff)說。
“The president and his men plot on,” Schiff said. “The danger persists. The risk is real. Our democracy is at peril.”
Far from showing contrition or contemplating resignation, as his predecessors have done in the face of impeachment, Trump instead offered an indignant defense as the House weighed his fate, raging on Twitter from the White House.
“SUCH ATROCIOUS LIES BY THE RADICAL LEFT, DO NOTHING DEMOCRATS,” the president wrote as the historic debate took place on the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue. “THIS IS AN ASSAULT ON AMERICA, AND AN ASSAULT ON THE REPUBLICAN PARTY!!!!”
Regardless of the outcome of a Senate trial, the impeachment vote in the House puts an indelible stain on Trump’s presidency that cannot be wiped from the public consciousness with a barrage of tweets or an angry tirade in front of thousands of his cheering supporters at a campaign rally.