The Democrat-led US House of Representatives voted on Wednesday to impeach President Donald Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
As the vote ended, Trump became the third president in the US history to be impeached. The full House voted on the two articles of impeachment separately but largely along party lines after hours of heated and polarised floor debate.
“It is tragic that the president’s reckless actions make impeachment necessary.
“He gave us no choice,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, said when kicking off the debate hours before the vote.
After the impeachment vote, the White House expressed confidence that Trump would be “fully exonerated”. “Today marks the culmination in the House of one of the most shameful political episodes in the history of our nation.
Without receiving a single Republican vote, and without providing any proof of wrongdoing, Democrats pushed illegitimate articles of impeachment against the president through the House of Representatives,” White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said in a statement.
“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,” the statement said.
Though the House passed the impeachment, Pelosi refused to commit to delivering articles of impeachment to the Republican-controlled Senate, citing concerns about an unfair trial on removing Trump from office.
“So far we haven’t seen anything that looks fair to us,” Pelosi told reporters after the impeachment vote.
The House was “very unlikely” to take the steps necessary to send the articles to the Senate until at least early January, a delay of at least two weeks and perhaps longer, according to a Politico report, citing senior Democratic aides.
Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has refused Senate Democratic leader Charles Schumer’s framework on impeachment trial, which would include testimonies from four former and current White House senior officials.
Asked if he would be an impartial juror, McConnell called himself “not an impartial juror”.
“This is a political process. There’s not anything judicial about it,” he said.
McConnell has said that he will be “in total coordination” with the White House in determining the Republican strategy for the impeachment trial. -Xinhua