Big Island Now file photo. Nov. 2016
Donald Trump on Wednesday became only the third president in US history to be impeached.
The US House of Representatives considered two articles of impeachment against President Trump, one for abuse of power and the other for obstruction of Congress. A separate vote is held on each article.
Votes on the first article relating to abuse of power were cast largely along partisan lines, with two Democrats voting not to impeach the president along with every House Republican. The needed votes for impeachment are 216, which the Democratic-led House cleared with relative ease in a tally of 230-197.
The second article of impeachment involving obstruction of Congress also passed, this one by a vote of 229-198.
Thus, the House has officially charged President Trump with high crimes and misdemeanors for his actions involving Ukraine. Trump is accused of using his position to threaten to withhold military aid to the country unless it investigated the son of political rival Joe Biden, former Vice President to Barack Obama and a Democratic front runner in the 2020 presidential elections.
ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW AD
Hawai‘i Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, a Democrat who will vacate her seat following her run for president, did not vote for or against impeachment — the only representative to make that choice.
“After doing my due diligence in reviewing the 658-page impeachment report, I came to the conclusion that I could not in good conscience vote either yes or no,” Gabbard said in a statement. “I am standing in the center and have decided to vote Present. I could not in good conscience vote against impeachment because I believe President Trump is guilty of wrongdoing.”
“I also could not in good conscience vote for impeachment because removal of a sitting President must not be the culmination of a partisan process, fueled by tribal animosities that have so gravely divided our country,” she continued. “When I cast my vote in support of the impeachment inquiry nearly three months ago, I said that in order to maintain the integrity of this solemn undertaking, it must not be a partisan endeavor. Tragically, that’s what it has been.”
The process now moves to the Republican-controlled US Senate for trial and a decision on whether or not he should be removed from office. Impeachment itself does not end Trump’s presidency or disallow him from running for reelection in 2020.
Republican Senators have vocally supported Trump during the process, and experts do not expect the votes will be there to end his presidency. No president has ever been removed from office via the impeachment process.