White House Representatives vote to impeach President Donald Trump for abuse of power
A majority of members of the US House of Representatives, on December 18, voted to impeach President Donald Trump for abuse of power.
The trial on removing Trump from office will now move to the Senate. Republicans hold a solid majority and are expected to exonerate him in the Senate.
By a 230 to 197 vote in the Democratic-majority House, the 45th US president becomes just the third occupant of the White House in American history to be impeached.
Democrats said they had "no choice" but to formally charge the Republican president, whose impeachment along stark party lines places an indelible stain on his record while driving a spike ever deeper into the US political divide.
"What is at risk here is the very idea of America," said Adam Schiff, the lawmaker who headed the impeachment inquiry, ahead of the vote.
The House vote came four months after a whistle blower blew open the scandal of Trump pressuring Ukraine's president to investigate his potential White House challenger in 2020, the veteran Democrat Joe Biden.
After a marathon of 10 hours of debate, lawmakers were to vote quickly on the second article of impeachment facing Trump -- for obstructing the congressional probe into his Ukraine dealings by blocking the testimony of subpoenaed White House aides.
Despite testimony from 17 officials that Trump leveraged his office for domestic politic gain, the president maintained his innocence throughout the impeachment inquiry -- furiously denouncing it as a "witch hunt," an "attempted coup" and on Wednesday as an "assault on America."
Trump spent the first half of the day holed up at the White House, sending out tweets reflecting his frustration, anger and predictions of revenge in the 2020 election.
However, as the vote took place, the 73-year-old was on friendlier territory.
While the House was casting votes to impeach him, thousands of Trump's most fervent supporters were cheering him at a rally in Michigan where he railed against a "radical left" he said was "consumed with hatred."