House of Representatives votes to send impeachment articles to Senate
The U.S House of Representatives voted on Wednesday, Jan. 15 to send two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump to the Senate. The decision to deliver the articles will commence a supplementary trial in the Senate to determine whether the president will be removed from office.
The House totaled 230 favoring votes for impeachment Article I and 229 for Article II, satisfying the required two-thirds majority needed to advance the trial to the Senate floor.
The first article of impeachment accuses President Trump of abuse of power against Ukraine. The president attempted to solicit the foreign nation into publicly announcing a political investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden as well as a conspiracy that Ukraine, not Russia, interfered with the 2016 presidential election. The president attempted to discredit his upcoming opponent in the 2020 presidential election by perpetuating a theory that Biden misused his powers as vice president to benefit his son’s business interests.
The article further states that President Trump jeopardized U.S. national security in exchange for Ukrainian cooperation by authorizing U.S. military assistance to Ukraine to counter Russian aggression and through his request for Ukraine’s White House visit so the country could show a strong political alliance in the face of its adversary.
The second article accuses President Trump with obstruction of Congress after instructing members of the Executive branch to not comply with subpoenas sent by the House during the Ukraine investigation.
The House bases these accusations on the Constitutional decree that a president “shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, and other high crimes and misdemeanors.”
Following the vote, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi appointed seven Democrats to serve as impeachment managers during the Senate hearing. These managers will act as prosecutors on behalf of House Democrats by outlining the accusations against President Trump and working to convince U.S. Senators that his alleged misconduct renders “removal from office” an appropriate consequence.
The appointed managers include House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff and House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler, as well as Representatives Zoe Lofgren, Hakeem Jeffries, Val Demings, Jason Crow and Sylvia Garcia.
The decision to send the impeachment articles to Congress comes after a month-long deliberation by Pelosi over concerns about how the Senate hearing would be conducted.
During a press conference on Dec. 19, Pelosi stated she intended to delay the trial procedures, despite pressure from other House Representatives, until she had a solid understanding of whether witnesses would be called and what documentation would be used during the Senate trial. After having such information, Pelosi could decide how many impeachment managers to send and who they would be.
The delay was a success, as new documentation prompted former National Security Advisor John Bolton to agree to testify during the Senate trial if so subpoenaed.
In an interview with George Stephanopolous, Pelosi ensured that her controversial delay only showed the House’s reliance on “witnesses and documentation” as a means of reassuring that the trial is not a “cover-up.”
The question still remains, however, as to whether a conservative Senate will carry out the intentions of Speaker Pelosi and House managers. Throughout the entirety of the impeachment process thus far, constituents and lawmakers on both sides have questioned whether pursuing an unrequited interest in removing the president from office would serve any purpose at all.
Many Americans are concerned that knowingly engaging in this one-sided strategy resembles more of a “witch hunt” than legitimate legislative action.
“You have to look at this issue from the vein of people who believe that the president did act outside the limits of the Constitution,” Political Strategist MaryAnna Mancuso said. “If a president were to step out of the boundaries of the Constitution, it’s Congress’ job to bring him back, which they did.”
“However, this is a very precarious situation,” she added. “Democrats either need to get this done or run the risk of being told this was all a witch hunt based on junk information.”
While Democrats and supporters of the impeachment may stand by the legitimacy of the articles and affirm that this is Congress’ way of acting on its commitment to checks and balances, the fate of President Trump now rests in the hands of a conservative Senate. Many Republicans believe that GOP Senators will fight toward granting the president a bipartisan acquittal instead of removing him from office.
The numeric improbability of Trump’s removal may expose a fault in the strategy of the House. Having put all their eggs in the basket of impeachment, Pelosi and House Democrats appear to have overlooked a “step two.” If the president were to be exonerated, as many Americans suspect he will be, the efforts of the House will prove fruitless.
“We need 67 Senators to agree on removal. You have a better chance of getting a bunch of people to agree on one place for dinner...This process is not something as easy as returning a shirt to the Gap,” Mancuso said.
Although Trump is now the third U.S. president in history to be impeached in the House of Representatives, the verdict of the Senate will remain uncertain until the results of yet another trial.
By Haley Hartner