Donald Trump became the third president in American history to be impeached on Wednesday on a largely party line vote, setting up a formal trial next year in the Senate.
The impeachment vote capped off a three month investigation into the president’s actions in regard to the Ukraine. The vote came at the end of a day long partisan debate on the House floor with Republicans charging Democrats with wanting to over turn the last presidential election and Democrats arguing the president tried to use a foreign power to help him win re-election.
‘A great day for the constitution of the United States,’ Speaker Nancy Pelosi said after the votes concluded.
‘I could not be prouder or more inspired by the moral courage of House Democrats. We never asked one of them how they are going to vote. We never whipped this vote. We saw the vote — well, you saw the public statements that some of them made, we saw the result when everyone else did,’ she said.
‘The statements on the floor about patriotism and about being very true to the vision of our founders. And so I view this day, this vote as something that we did to honor the vision of our founders, to establish a republic, the sacrifice of our men and women in uniform to defend our democracy and that republic and the aspirations of our children, that they will always live in a democracy,’ she added.
The House held two separate votes – one on each article of impeachment. Pelosi presided over the votes and largely kept her party in line. And she silenced a few Democratic lawmakers who cheered the outcome with a flick of her wrist. The speaker made it clear before the vote she did not want Democrats to be celebrating what she considered a grave constitutional matter.
The vote on the first article of impeachment – abuse of power – was 230 to 197. The vote on the second article – obstruction of Congress – was 229 to 198.
‘On this vote, the yeas are 230. The nays are 197. Present is one. Article one is adopted,’ Pelosi announced after she gaveled the vote on the first article to a close.
On this vote, the yeas are 229. The nays are 198. Present is one. Article two is adopted,’ she said at the end of the second vote.
For the first vote there were two Democratic defections: Colin Peterson of Minnesota, who said he would be a no vote, and Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey who is reported to be switching to the Republican Party.
For the vote on the second article, those two were joined in the dissenting column by Maine Democrat Jared Golden, who said he would vote for the first article but not the second.
Republicans lawmakers rushed to the speaker’s dais to cast their votes by paper ballot, which means the votes had to be tallied by hand by the Clerk of the House. The usual procedure is for lawmakers to vote via an electronic system.
Some lawmakers were spotted taking selfies with their ballots before they officially casted them.
Pelosi voted yes on both articles, casting a rare vote. The speaker of the House typically does not vote on any legislative matter.
Tulsi Gabbard, a Democrat running for president, voted ‘present’ for both articles. Justin Amash, the Republican lawmaker turned Independent, voted yes for both articles.