President Donald Trump was impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday evening by a vote of 230 -197.

It was only the third time in U.S. history that a sitting president has been impeached. After hours of acrimonious debate on the House floor, the final verdict was announced by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D–California).

A trial deciding whether to acquit or convict the president of the charges of high crimes and misdemeanors will now be scheduled in the Republican-led Senate. Two-thirds of the senators or 67 lawmakers would have to vote to convict the president of the charges. If the president is convicted by the Senate, he would be removed from office, though that is considered very unlikely.

The scandal started with a phone conversation between Trump and the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on July 25. The call appeared to insinuate that the Congressionally legislated financial aid appropriated for Ukrainian defense security from Russian aggression would be released by Trump only if Zelensky opened an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden, who was a director on the board of Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma.

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Joe Biden is the frontrunner among the Democratic presidential candidates and the chief potential rival of Trump in the forthcoming 2020 U.S. elections.

Democrats have accused Trump of soliciting Ukraine to interfere in the domestic electoral process of the U.S. and compromise the sovereignty and security of the US.

Despite multiple subpoenas issued by the different House Committees to Trump and other members of the executive branch including cabinet secretaries, White House staff and civil servants, few have complied with the subpoenas at Trump’s direction.

The two grounds on which the articles of impeachment were framed against Trump are abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The third plausible ground, which has been left out of the articles of impeachment, framed by the House Intelligence Committee and accepted by the House Judiciary Committee, is obstruction of justice.

The House Democrats came to a consensus that only the Ukraine issue would be the focus of the charges.

The House held six hours of debate, equally divided between Republicans and Democrats, on the two articles. Representatives took turns making the case for and against impeachment.

Pelosi opened the debate in the House of Representatives on the articles of impeachment against Trump, declaring that lawmakers are “custodians of the Constitution” and urging her colleagues to honor their oaths by charging the president with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

“Today, as speaker of the House, I solemnly and sadly open the debate on the impeachment of the president of the United States.”

“Our founder’s vision of a republic is under threat from actions from the White House,” she said somberly, adding, “If we do not act now, we would be derelict in our duty. It is tragic that the president’s reckless actions make impeachment necessary. He gave us no choice.”

When she concluded her remarks, Democrats gave the speaker a standing ovation while Republicans chanted “regular order” to quiet the chamber.

Trump was livid. He was tweeting frenetically since morning.



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