President Donald Trump impeached by US House of Representatives

19 December 2019, 01:26 | Updated: 19 December 2019, 06:55

Donald Trump has been impeached by the House of Representatives
Donald Trump has been impeached by the House of Representatives. Picture: PA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

The US House of Representatives has voted to impeach President Donald Trump.

The first article, abuse of power, passed by 230 in favour to 197 against.

The second, obstruction of Congress, was almost identical at 229 in favour, 198 against.

Mr Trump has become just the third sitting president in history to be impeached, following in the footsteps of Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998.

Wednesday evening's outcome followed hours of fierce debate in the lower house of Congress on what has been a historic day in American politics.

The US leader is now set to stand trial in the Senate early next year, ahead of the 2020 presidential campaign.

Trump could yet survive as President, despite being impeached
Trump could yet survive as President, despite being impeached. Picture: PA

Prior to the result, Representative Jim McGovern said the proceeding was "a democracy defining moment."

"This is about protecting our democracy," he added.

Democrats had previously firmly approved the rules for the debate by 228 votes to 197, which proved to be an early indication of how the votes would eventually fall on the articles of impeachment.

Earlier on Wednesday, Mr Trump tweeted his outrage: "Can you believe that I will be impeached today by the Radical Left, Do Nothing Democrats, AND I DID NOTHING WRONG! A terrible thing."

The US President also sent a fiery letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday, claiming he did nothing wrong in seeking foreign investigation into a political rival.

In the six page letter, Donald Trump called the inquiry "spiteful," "a crusade" and an "election-nullification scheme."

“It is a terrible thing you are doing, but you will have to live with it, not I!” he continued.

Nancy Pelosi speaking in the House of Representatives
Nancy Pelosi speaking in the House of Representatives. Picture: US House of Representatives

Impeachment is the first step in the deposition of a president, but will not necessarily lead to Mr Trump being removed from office.

It is not a criminal trial, however it will form the basis of a trial in the Senate at a later date that is expected to be conducted in January.

The president is expected to survive the Senate trial next year, with the Republican Party dominating the 100-seat chamber with a 53-47 majority.

No president has ever been successfully ousted after impeachment, with a two-thirds majority needed to remove them.

The allegations at the heart of Wednesday's hearing were that he pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate his Democratic rival joe Biden for political gain, and that he obstructed Congress.

More to follow ...

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