Impeachment Revisited

Matthew Blomgren, Staff Writer

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On Wednesday, December 18th, 2019, the United States House of Representatives voted to impeach current President Donald J. Trump. This result is the culmination of investigations conducted by Chairman of the United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) under the auspices of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). The House, led by Democrats, levied two Articles of Impeachment – Abuse of Power and Obstruction of Congress. 

Article I, regarding Abuse of Power, was passed 230-197-1. Only Congresswoman Tusli Gabbard (D-HI) did not vote either in favor of or against the impeachment of the 45th president. She stated, “I came to the conclusion that I could not in good conscience vote either yes or no.” Rep. Jeff Van Drew (D-NJ) broke party lines and sided with every single House Republican; however, Van Drew plans to switch to the Republican Party in the coming days. Rep. Justin Amash (I-MI), a former Republican, voted in favor of Article I.

Article II, regarding Obstruction of Congress, was passed 229-198-1. Congressman Collin Peterson (D-MN) was the only Representative to vote in favor of one article of impeachment (Article I) and not the other article of impeachment (Article II). All other Representatives had voted the same way as for Article I.

(The full Articles of Impeachment can be viewed here)

It is important to understand that the Executive Branch of the Federal Government is still led by President Trump. Now, the Senate must set up a trial in order to decide the fate of the Trump administration. Unlike the House of Representatives, the Senate maintains a Republican majority, under the leadership of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). The Senate must vote at least two-thirds in favor of convicting the president in order for the president to be removed. Out of the current 100 U.S. Senators, sixty-seven Senators will have to convict Trump in order to depose him. If they do vote to do so, Trump will be the first President in American history to be removed from office. Two other presidents have been impeached – Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998. While the House pursued impeachment of President Richard Nixon, he resigned before a formal vote could take place in 1974. 

Amid the impeachment process, the House has yielded the passage of the United States, Mexico, Canada Agreement (USMCA), a bipartisan measure supported by Trump which aims to facilitate trade among the major North American countries. The House also approved of a $1.4 trillion spending bill for 2020, which will avert a shutdown of the federal government pending the signature of President Trump.