Washington, DC – Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, banged her gavel to confirm that US President Donald Trump was now officially the third US president in history to be impeached. The first count was for abuse of power while the second count was for obstruction of Congress. President Trump, who is a Republican, strongly denies any wrongdoing.
According to the accusations, Trump was pressuring Ukraine to dig up damaging information on one of his main Democratic challengers for the presidency in 2020, Joe Biden, former Vice President and his son Hunter. Hunter was working for a Ukrainian company when his father was US vice-president.
In this regard, Trump was accused of abuse of presidential power when talking of a couple of bargaining chips to Ukraine – withholding $400 million of military aid to Ukraine that had already been allocated by Congress, and a White House meeting for Ukraine’s president.
On another count, Trump was also accused of obstructing Congress by refusing to cooperate with the congressional inquiry.
The inquiry started rolling in early September, as a formal complaint in a letter from a whistleblower – an unnamed intelligence official – surfaced, who penned the concern about Trump’s July 25 call with President Volodymyr Zelensky. A rough transcript of the call revealed that Trump had urged President Zelensky to investigate discredited allegations against Joe and Hunter Biden.
The call was made as Trump blocked the release of millions of dollars in US military aid to Ukraine. As the inquiry proceeded, another senior official testified that the president made clear the release of the aid was conditional on Biden being investigated, but the White House denied the allegation.
Over a period of time, more US officials testified that there was a parallel foreign policy led from the White House where the president’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, was the main guiding force.
In a barrage of tweets, the president denied any wrongdoing, insisting that his call with Ukraine’s leader was “perfect.” Repeatedly labeling the impeachment inquiry a “witch hunt” by Democrats and the media, President Trump justified his actions to ask Ukraine to investigate “corruption”, referring to the energy firm where Hunter Biden worked.
According to experts, the defense of Trump comes as Ukraine’s president was quoted as saying he felt no pressure while the US military aid was eventually released.
Trump now faces trial in the Senate. But here, a two-thirds vote is necessary for a president’s removal – and this milestone has never been reached in US history. The Senate is currently controlled by the Republican Party so conviction is considered unlikely in Trump’s case.
On the impeachment vote, Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement, “With this vote, Nancy Pelosi and her fellow impeachment crusaders have ensured the reelection of President Trump and a return of a Republican majority in the House,” adding, “In 2020, voters will re-elect President Trump and choose candidates who will truly work on their behalf instead of obsessing over destroying a duly-elected President.”
The White House Press Secretary in a statement called the vote “the culmination in the House of one of the most shameful political episodes in the history of our Nation.” Labeling the procedures as “unconstitutional travesty,” the press secretary called those as ”two baseless articles of impeachment that lack any support in evidence and fail even to describe any impeachable offense.”
With the Republicans in majority in the next steps in the Senate, the press secretary said, “The President is confident the Senate will restore regular order, fairness, and due process, all of which were ignored in the House proceedings. He is prepared for the next steps and confident that he will be fully exonerated.”
“President Trump will continue to work tirelessly to address the needs and priorities of the American people, as he has since the day he took office,” the secretary concluded in her statement.
Trump who was holding a Make America Great Again rally in Michigan told the crowd he is aware of the impeachment vote. “Every single Republican voted for us,” Trump said, reacting to impeachment in live time. “So we had 198, 229, 198. We didn’t lose one Republican vote.”
“The Republican party has never been so affronted but they have never been so united as they are right now.” Noting that three Democrats voted with Republicans, he said, “The Democrats always stick together. Think of it: 3 Democrats went over to our side,” adding, “That’s unheard of.”