Donald Trump is now the third president in our country’s history to be impeached and face removal from the Senate. Following a months long inquiry process and many hours of public hearings, the House voted on Wednesday night to impeach President Trump on two articles of impeachment: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
Article 1, which accused Trump of abuse of power, passed with a 230-197 vote. Article 2, which accused Trump of obstruction of Congress, passed with a 229-198 vote. The two votes came after a bitter, eight hour debate in the House that stretched all day.
The two votes fell almost perfectly along party lines. 229 Democrats supported both articles of impeachment, while all 195 Republicans voted unanimously against impeachment.
Wednesday’s vote will lead to a trial in the Senate, which has a 53-47 Republican majority. A two-thirds vote in favor of removal would be required to remove the president from office. As the House vote suggests, the chances of getting the 67 votes needed to remove Trump from office are low.
Twenty of the 53 Republican senators would need to vote with the Democrats in order to remove Trump. While fourteen Republican senators have expressed some level of concern with Trump’s conduct on Ukraine policy, only three have track records of speaking out against the president (Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Mitt Romney of Utah).
Even if Democrats manage to convince twenty Republicans to vote with them, it’s not a given that all Senate Democrats will stay together. Someone like Joe Manchin of West Virginia has crossed party lines before and could do so again.
Throughout the day, Trump sent out more than 45 tweets defending himself and calling on help from his supporters. The president was offered to speak at his own hearing, however never officially responded to that offer. In anticipation to the vote, Trump sent an unhinged six page letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday protesting the impeachment process.
The next step in the impeachment process depends on Nancy Pelosi. Pelosi would not commit the night of the House vote on sending articles of impeachment to the Senate. Democratic leaders have been urged to withhold the articles until Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell agrees to procedures called for by Democrats that would ensure a fair trial. Pelosi said Democrats will make the decision “as a group” on when to send the articles to the Senate.
The votes set the stage for a historical trial beginning early next year in the Senate, ten months before Trump faces re-election.