U.S. House votes to send Trump impeachment charges to Senate for trial

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announces the House of Representatives managers for the Senate impeachment trial of U.S. President Donald Trump during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., January 15, 2020. REUTERS/Leah Millis

By Susan Cornwell

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Democratic-led House of Representatives voted on Wednesday to send two formal charges against President Donald Trump to the Senate, clearing the way for only the third impeachment trial of a U.S. president to begin in earnest next week.

Lawmakers voted 228 to 193 to give the Senate, controlled by Trump’s fellow Republicans, the task of putting him on trial on charges of abuse of power for asking Ukraine to investigate political rival Joe Biden and of obstruction of Congress for blocking testimony and documents sought by Democratic lawmakers.

The vote was largely along party lines.

The Senate is expected to acquit Trump, keeping him in office, as none of its 53 Republicans has voiced support for removing him, a step that under the U.S. Constitution would require a two-thirds majority in the 100-seat chamber.

But Trump’s impeachment by the House last month will remain as a stain on his record and the televised trial in the Senate could be uncomfortable for him as he seeks re-election on Nov. 3, with Biden a leading contender for the Democratic nomination to challenge him.

“We are here today to cross a very important threshold in American history,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on the House floor before the vote.

Pelosi, who launched the impeachment inquiry in September after earlier resisting such a move centered on Trump’s actions related to Russian interference in the 2016 election, named a seven-member team of House Democrats to serve as prosecutors at the Senate trial. The House voted to approve them.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, a former federal prosecutor, was selected to head the team of House “managers.” The White House has yet to unveil its defense team. The trial will overseen by U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, has said opening statements in the trial were expected next Tuesday.

A pivotal event in Trump’s impeachment was a July 25 telephone call in which he asked Ukraine’s president to open a corruption investigation into Biden and his son, as well as a discredited theory that Ukraine, not Russia, interfered in the 2016 U.S. election.

Democrats have called this an abuse of power because Trump asked a foreign government to interfere in a U.S. election for his own benefit at the expense of American national security. Biden is one of 12 candidates vying for the Democratic nomination to face Trump in the presidential election.

Republicans have argued that Trump’s actions did not rise to the level of impeachable offenses. They have accused Democrats of using the Ukraine affair as a way to nullify Trump’s 2016 election victory.

No U.S. president has been removed as a direct result of impeachment. Richard Nixon resigned in 1974 in the Watergate corruption scandal before the full House could vote on articles of impeachment, while Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton were impeached by the House, respectively in 1868 and 1998, but not convicted by the Senate.

Clinton’s trial lasted five weeks. If the Senate conducts the Trump trial along those lines, as McConnell has suggested, the televised Senate proceedings against the president would still be going on while the first nominating contests of the 2020 presidential election were underway in Iowa and New Hampshire.

Schiff, 59, spearheaded the House impeachment investigation and he is a frequent target of Trump attacks. Trump in December called Schiff, who served as a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles for six years, “a deranged human being.”

Schiff urged Republicans to allow more evidence and witnesses at the trial.

“Americans overwhelmingly want a fair trial in the Senate, fair to the president and fair to the people. Senators must demand to see and hear the full evidence, including the documents and witnesses the president has blocked,” Schiff said in a statement.

Democrats want Trump’s former national security adviser John Bolton to be called as a witness, which could prove damaging to Trump. Other impeachment witnesses have said Bolton was a vocal critic of the effort to pressure Ukraine.

The House managers include four men and three women, with two African American lawmakers and one Hispanic lawmaker. Other managers include Jerrold Nadler, 72, who crafted the two articles of impeachment against Trump as House Judiciary Committee chairman, and Val Demings, a former police chief of Orlando, Florida.

“The emphasis is on litigators, the emphasis is on comfort level in the courtroom, the emphasis is making the strongest possible case to protect and defend our Constitution, to seek the truth for the American people,” Pelosi said in announcing the House managers.

The White House greeted the announcement of the House team with scorn, with White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham saying Trump “expects to be fully exonerated.”

“The naming of these managers does not change a single thing,” Grisham said in a statement. “President Trump has done nothing wrong.”

(Additional reporting by David Morgan, Doina Chiacu and Richard Cowan; Writing by Alistair Bell; Editing by Andy Sullivan and Will Dunham)

5 thoughts on “U.S. House votes to send Trump impeachment charges to Senate for trial

  1. I am Australian but spent a lot of time in America working in the Media. I love America and I mixed in the Hollywood mob due to my job. I am ashamed at their behaviour… I am very angry today as they have the best President ever who has done so much. But, they don’t care .. they just have this hate campaign about the president. It’s just stupidity in the highest form. The same with the Democrats they don’t care that their country is becoming great again. Their evil , jealous hate campaign is all they care about. Wake up America the lord God in who you trust cares enough to come and deliver you out of the swamp and from going down. He sent a saviour President Trump, and just like Jesus, you reject him. Well if you don’t repent and honour your President and what God has done. ..Well America will pay the price. The Democrats would come in with everything the president has done and look good. But, only for a while. He is a blessing and a miracle to America and to the whole world. Wake up wake up.!!!God bless America and this should be a year of praying and in warfare for your future. It will be great or bad. Great with Trump or bad if the Democrats get in. I pray for every Christian to vote. I shall pray for President Trump and pray for his enemies as the lord says to do. America you have had great days… do you really want to go back to pre-Trump days ??????

    God bless

  2. it’s time to wake up America. The Dems are so desperate to keep their ONE WORLD GOVERNMENT we refer to as globalism that they openly oppose nationalism, love for America, and don’t seem to care if we lose our freedoms. Donald J. Trump is the giant standing in their way. He is innocent of any crimes against the government and should be granted a swift acquittal. angeline

  3. Oh we know why it took Pelosi so long to get papers across for the impeachment!!! She was waiting on her peach outfit to be made at Target for her big day. Time for her to go to a nice retirement home as the women was like the smiling Joker. I said before, the Democrats worst days are still yet to come as they watch the best that is yet to come for President Trump and the country. How she said this impeachment will last forever said it all. She is wrong it does not exist… only the Democrats will live with it for making their worst decision ever. She says she prays for the president while stabbing him in the back. Well that’s a great women of faith. Miss Pelosi you are such a hypocrite. I pray the lord shows you what a real women of God is like and you repent for being deceived and not honouring the great man he gave you . The President change America and change the world. The only man for the job is President Trump. Oh and he has done the best job far above and beyond any President. America you should be dancing in the streets for America is becoming great again. Thank the lord. !!!!!

    Your Aussie sister

  4. I pray for those that are against our president the one that the Lord is put in the White House I pray for those that are against what God has done great punishment to those that don’t abide by the Lord, surely the Lord will show that Trump is the man he’s chose, I pray always for our president Donald Trump and I will be voting for him again thank you Lord amen.

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