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US House Votes to Impeach Donald Trump

Washington, DC, USA —(Map)

Yesterday, after a long day of speeches from different points of view by Democrats and Republicans, the United States House of Representatives voted to impeach US President Donald Trump.

Branches of Government 
The US constitution (the rules of the country) guides the way its government works. It divides the government into three parts, each with the power to keep the other parts under control.

One of the jobs of Congress  is to make sure the president follows the law. Through impeachment, Congress can investigate (look into) whether the president broke any laws, and, if necessary, remove the president.

Nancy Pelosi speaks before the vote on impeaching President Trump.
Yesterday, after a long day of speeches from different points of view by Democrats and Republicans, the US House of Representatives voted to impeach President Donald Trump. House leader Nancy Pelosi (above) opened the discussion, saying the president “gave us no choice.”
(Source: Screenshot, C-Span.)

The Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi opened the discussion, saying that the president’s actions required impeachment. “He gave us no choice,” she said. From that point on, House members stood, giving short, often emotional speeches either in favor of or against impeaching the president.

The “articles of impeachment” – the charges against Mr. Trump – were decided last Friday. The two charges were “abuse of power” (misusing his power as president) and “obstruction of Congress” (trying to stop Congress from doing its job of investigating him).

Jerrold Nadler speaks before the vote on impeaching President Trump.
Jerrold Nadler (above) led the group that decided on the “articles of impeachment” – the charges against Mr. Trump. The two charges were “abuse of power” (misusing his power as president) and “obstruction of Congress” (trying to stop Congress from investigating him).
(Source: Screenshot, C-Span.)

After about eight hours, the House finally voted. The votes were split by party.  Most Democrats voted to impeach, and all Republicans voted against impeachment. Since the House is controlled by Democrats, the votes passed easily. Mr. Trump is the third president ever to be impeached.

The process now moves to the Republican-controlled Senate, where a trial will be held.


Results of House Votes on Impeachment

Article Yes No
Abuse of power 230 197
Obstruction of Congress 229 198

The House began investigating Mr. Trump in early September after Congress learned about a phone call between Mr. Trump and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky.

The phone call seemed to connect two important facts: 1. Mr. Trump was holding back $391 million from the Ukraine, and 2. Mr. Trump wanted Mr. Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden, a Democratic politician who hopes to replace Mr. Trump as president.

President Donald J. Trump participates in a bilateral meeting with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zalensky Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019.
The investigation was started after Congress learned about a phone call between Mr. Trump and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky (left). People who knew about the call suggested that Mr. Trump held back $391 million in order to force Ukraine to investigate US politician Joe Biden.
(Source: The White House [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.)

Both facts are unusual by themselves. No one seemed to know why the money was being held back, and it’s highly unusual for an American president to ask a foreign country to help find damaging information about another American politician.

But the key question is whether the two facts are connected – did Mr. Trump use the payment to pressure Mr. Zelensky to investigate Mr. Biden? That would be against the law. The results of the House’s investigation suggest that he did.

Mr. Trump says he didn’t break any laws. He describes his call with Mr. Zelensky as “perfect”.

Doug Collins speaks before the vote on impeaching President Trump.
Mr. Trump says he didn’t break any laws. He describes his call with Mr. Zelensky as “perfect”. Republicans in the House, like Doug Collins (above), are backing Mr. Trump. They say that Democrats just don’t want Mr. Trump to be president.
(Source: Screenshot, C-Span.)

But Mr. Trump made it very hard for the House to investigate what happened. Mr. Trump told people who worked at the White House not to talk to the House. He told other parts of the government not to give information to the House.

Because the White House wouldn’t cooperate, most people who spoke during the House investigation were people who were part of the government long before Mr. Trump was elected.

President Donald J. Trump celebrates the passage of the Tax Cuts Act with Vice President Mike Pence, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan
The Senate, which is controlled by Republicans, will be in charge of Mr. Trump’s trial. Republicans are working closely with the White House to decide how the trial will be handled. Senate leader Mitch McConnell (above left) says, “There’s no chance the president will be removed from office.”
(Source: Joyce N. Boghosian/White House [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.)

The Senate, which is controlled by Republicans, will be in charge of Mr. Trump’s trial. The trial is expected to take place next month and to last about two weeks. The Republicans are working closely with the White House to decide how the trial will be handled.

At the end of the trial, the Senators will decide if Mr. Trump is guilty of the charges. Several Republican senators say they have already made their minds up before the trial has even begun. As Senate leader Mitch McConnell put it, “There’s no chance the president will be removed from office.”

Washington, DC, USA


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