A divided House of Representatives voted yesterday to begin the next stage of the impeachment inquiry into United States of America president Donald Trump, taking the investigation from behind closed doors to Americans’ television screens with a series of public hearings.
Republican and Democratic lawmakers took to the House floor to engage in a bitter debate over the impeachment process before voting largely along party lines on the resolution.
Democrats focused on their constitutional duty; they talked about following the law and protecting national security interests. Republicans railed against the process, echoing a White House argument there is no due process for the president and no Republican in-put into the proceedings, and accused their colleagues across the aisle of trying to overturn the 2016 election.
The contentious debate is likely a preview of the public hearings to come.
Thursday’s vote was 232 in favour with 196 lawmakers voting no.
‘‘The Greatest Witch Hunt In American History!,’’ Trump tweeted after the vote was finished, using his favourite phrase to describe any investigation into him.
There were two Democratic defections – Congressmen Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey and Collin Peterson of Minnesota. Both hold swing districts that Trump carried in the 2016 election.
Trump carried Peterson’s district by over 30 points. Rep. Justin Amash, a Republican who became an Independent, voted in favour of the resolution.
Four lawmakers did not vote.
Three Republicans — Jody Hice of Georgia, John Rose of Tennessee, and William Timmons of South Carolina — and one Democrat: Donald McEachin of Virginia. Speaker Nancy Pelosi presided over the vote and gavelled it to a close, announcing the final total. She kept her words on the matter short: ‘’On this vote the yeas are 232, the nays are 196. The resolution is adopted without objection.’’
Democrats launched the formal impeachment inquiry in September after a whistleblower revealed concerns that President Trump asked the Ukrainian president to investigate Joe and Hunter Bidens, his political enemies, during a July 25 phone call. Trump has denied any wrongdoing and called the call ‘’perfect.’’
The weeks-long inquiry accumulated into Thursday’s five-minute vote. The House chamber was crowded with lawmakers as it took place. They chatted with each other on their respective sides of aisle.
After it was over, Democrats moved on to the next vote on the schedule while Republicans yelled in protest. ‘’Order, order,’’ they yelled, ‘’we have rules.’’
But Democrats, who control the chamber, moved on.
White House Press secretary Stephanie Grisham, as soon as the vote was over, charged House Democrats with an “obsession’’ with impeaching the president.
‘’The President has done nothing wrong, and the Democrats know it. Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats’ unhinged obsession with this illegitimate impeachment proceeding does not hurt President Trump; it hurts the American people,’’ she said in a statement.
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham, as soon as the vote was over, charged House Democrats with an ‘’obsession’’ with impeaching the president.
‘’The President has done nothing wrong, and the Democrats know it. Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats’ unhinged obsession with this illegitimate impeachment proceeding does not hurt President Trump; it hurts the American people,’’ she said in a statement. – Daily Mail UK