On Wednesday night, the House of Representatives voted along party lines to impeach President Trump on one count of abuse of power and one count of obstruction of Congress related to his campaign to pressure Ukraine to investigate a political opponent. Meanwhile, in Battle Creek, Michigan, President Trump was doing what he loves: ranting onstage in support of his reelection. “It doesn’t really feel like we’re being impeached,” the president said in his opening remarks, shortly before being impeached.
It is just the third successful House vote to impeach a president, following those of Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton. (Richard Nixon resigned prior to the vote to impeach him.) On the abuse of power charge, the vote passed 230 to 197, with two Democrats voting no. On the obstruction of Congress charge, the vote passed 229 to 198, with three Democrats voting now. Tulsi Gabbard voted “present” on both articles.
“If we do not act now, we would be derelict in our duty,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in her opening remarks before debate. “It is tragic that the president’s reckless actions make impeachment necessary. He gave us no choice.”
Throughout the vote, Republicans decried the constitutionally-by-the-book process as a threat to American democracy. “I have descended into the belly of the beast,” said Louisiana Representative Clay Higgins. “I have witnessed a terror within. And I was committed to oppose the insidious forces which threaten our republic.” Representative Ross Spano of Florida, who is under investigation by the DOJ for alleged campaign finance violations, yelled throughout his time on the floor, calling the process a “sad charade.” Georgia Representative Barry Loundermilk took a more idolatrous route, comparing the president to Jesus Christ. Trump, whose press secretary claimed he would not be watching much of his own impeachment, matched the unrestrained tone of his party:
With the impeachment vote secured in the House, Nancy Pelosi must appoint impeachment managers to argue the case for impeachment in the Senate trial, which is expected to begin in January. Some first-term House Democrats have been lobbying for the only House independent, Justin Amash, to fulfill the role of impeachment manager; on July 4, the Michigan lawmaker and longtime critic of the president announced his departure from the Republican Party due to staunch partisanship within Congress.