On Thursday 19th December, Donald Trump became the third president in American history to be impeached as the House of Representatives voted along party lines to set up a trial in the Senate. Before Trump, Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998 were both impeached, while Richard Nixon resigned before he could be impeached in 1974.
The House voted by 230 to 197 to impeach him for abuse of power, and by 229 to 198 to impeach him on obstruction. However, it must be noted that not a single Republican voted in support of impeachment.
Trump stands accused of abusing his power to coerce President Zelensky of Ukraine into announcing investigations into the business affairs of Hunter Biden, the son of Senior Joe Biden, and into a debunked conspiracy theory that Ukraine, and not Russia, had meddled in the 2016 US presidential election that brought him to power. Donald Trump is also accused of obstructing Congress from investigating this case.
“Can you believe that I will be impeached today by the Radical Left, Do Nothing Democrats, AND I DID NOTHING WRONG! A terrible Thing. Read the Transcripts. This should never happen to another President again. Say a PRAYER!” Trump tweeted before the start of a six-hour debate in the House.
Charges against Trump “absolutely far fetched”: Putin
In the meantime, Russian President Vladamir Putin has condemned Trump's impeachment, saying the charges against him were “absolutely far fetched”.
At his annual press conference in Moscow, Putin predicted that the attempt to remove the US president would fail.
“It [the motion] still has to pass in the Senate where, to my knowledge, the Republicans have a majority. They would hardly agree to remove a representative of their party from power for reasons that look absolutely far fetched to me.
“The party which lost the election, the Democratic Party, is trying to achieve results by other means, first by accusing Trump of conspiring with Russia, then it turns out there has been no conspiracy. This cannot be the basis of impeachment. Now they’ve invented some kind of pressure on Ukraine.”
Tulsi Gabbard abstains from voting
Tulsi Gabbard, abstained from both votes, saying that she was opposed to a “partisan process”. The Democrat from Hawaii standing for the party’s presidential nomination, was accused in October of being “the favourite of the Russians” in the Democratic race.
Trump is now due to stand trial in the new year. An improbable two-thirds majority is required to convict him, remove him from office and disqualify him from standing again.