On Wednesday, December 18, the United States House of Representatives voted twice in favor of impeaching President Donald J. Trump on two Articles of Impeachment: Abuse of Power and Obstruction of Congress. Trump is the third president in american history to be impeached, along with Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton. His impeachment comes after he colluded with Ukraine to investigate Hunter Biden, the son of his political rival, Vice President Joe Biden. President Trump also refused to follow subpoenas ordered to executive branch officials and withheld documents requested by the House. The Articles of Impeachment will be sent to the United States Senate where they will vote whether or not to remove Donald Trump from office. The president is expected to be acquitted along party lines. The Senate trial will be presided by John Roberts, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Impeachment managers from the House of Representatives will present their case for and against President Trump in the Senate.
The first Article established Trump’s abuse of power by stating, “President Trump solicited the interference of a foreign government, Ukraine, in the 2020 United States Presidential election. He did so through a scheme or course of conduct that included soliciting the Government of Ukraine to publicly announce investigations that would benefit his reelection, harm the election prospects of a political opponent, and influence the 2020 United States Presidential election to his advantage.” It was imperative to President Trump that the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announce his investigation of Joe Biden to the public, and he vowed to withhold aid to the nation until his Ukrainian counterpart did so. The House Democrats claim that this put his personal interests over the interests of his office and breaks his vow to protect the nation and the Constitution. The cause of impeachment in the first article reads:
“President Trump engaged in this scheme or course of conduct through the following means:
(1) President Trump—acting both directly and through his agents Within and Outside the United States Government?corruptly solicited the Government of Ukraine to publicly announce investigations into—
(A) a political opponent, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden,; and
(B) a discredited theory promoted by Russia alleging that Ukraine—rather than Russia—interfered in the 2016 United States Presidential election.
(2) With the same corrupt motives, President Trump—acting both directly and through his agents within and outside the United States Government—conditioned two official acts on the public announcements that he had requested—
(A) the release of $391 million of United States taxpayer funds that Congress had appropriated on a bipartisan basis for the purpose of providing vital military and security assistance to Ukraine to oppose Russian aggression and which President Trump had ordered suspended; and
(B) a head of state meeting at the White House, which the President of Ukraine sought to demonstrate continued United States support for the Government of Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression.
(3) Faced with the public revelation of his actions, President Trump ultimately released the military and security assistance to the Government of Ukraine, but has persisted in openly and corruptly urging and soliciting Ukraine to undertake investigations for his personal political benefit.”
Article Two claims that he obstructed Congress by refusing to follow congressional subpoenas. “In response, without lawful cause or excuse, President Trump directed Executive Branch agencies, offices, and officials not to comply with those subpoenas. President Trump thus interposed the powers of the Presidency against the lawful subpoenas of the House of Representatives, and assumed to himself functions and judgments necessary to the exercise of the “sole Power of Impeachment” vested by the Constitution in the House of Representatives.” The rationale for impeachment in the second article reads, in part:
“President Trump abused the powers of his high office through the following means:
(1) Directing the White House to defy a lawful subpoena by withholding the production of documents sought therein by the Committees.
(2) Directing other Executive Branch agencies and offices to defy lawful subpoenas and withhold the production of documents and records from the Committees—in response to which the Department of State, Office of Management and Budget, Department of Energy, and Department of Defense refused to produce a single document or record.
(3) Directing current and former Executive Branch officials not to cooperate with the Committees—in response to which nine Administration officials defied subpoenas for testimony, namely John Michael “Mick” Mulvaney, Robert B. Blair, John A. Eisenberg, Michael Ellis, Preston Wells Griffith, Russell T. Vought, Michael Duffey, Brian McCormack, and T. Ulrich Brechbuhl.”
Republicans claim that the impeachment of Trump is an attempt by the Democrats to reverse the results of the 2016 Presidential Election, while Democrats claim it is their constitutional duty to keep the executive branch in check. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters he will work with the White House to protect the president in the Senate trial next year. The process is expected to take two weeks with little to no Republicans joining the Democrats in voting to remove the president from office.