American President Donald Trump was impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday night. He became the third president in the country’s 243-year history to be impeached -- the Constitution’s answer to official “high crimes and misdemeanors.”
The legislators charged Trump with abuse of office for personal political gain and blocking -- or obstructing -- the congressional impeachment investigation.
The Democratic Party controls the House of Representatives. Trump is a member of the Republican Party.
Democrats led Wednesday’s voting, describing the process as part of their duty to protect the Constitution. Republican lawmakers, however, continued to support their party’s leader. They argued that Democrats are impeaching Trump because they cannot beat him in the 2020 presidential election.
The articles of impeachment now go to the Senate for trial. The trial is expected to begin in January. A two-thirds majority is necessary for a guilty finding.
While Democrats had the majority in the House to impeach Trump, Republicans control the Senate. Most observers expect the Senate to find the president not guilty of the charges.
Democratic lawmakers say Trump abused his power by withholding $391 million in military aid from Ukraine last summer. Congress approved the aid earlier this year. The Ukrainians eventually received the assistance.
The Democrats say Trump withheld the aid because he wanted Ukrainian officials to announce an investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden. Biden is seeking the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination.
The House’s impeachment resolution said Trump “betrayed the nation by abusing his high office to enlist a foreign power in corrupting democratic elections,” and then blocked Congress’ oversight like “no president” in U.S. history.
White House officials publicly released records of two telephone calls that took place in July between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. Zelenskiy has said he did not feel pressured by Trump. Trump says he did nothing wrong and described the telephone calls as “perfect.”
As the House debated the articles of impeachment throughout the day Wednesday, Trump expressed his anger about the process on Twitter. He wrote, “SUCH ATROCIOUS LIES BY THE RADICAL LEFT, DO NOTHING DEMOCRATS. THIS IS AN ASSAULT ON AMERICA, AND AN ASSAULT ON THE REPUBLICAN PARTY!!!!”
Only two other presidents have been impeached: Andrew Johnson in 1868, and Bill Clinton in 1998. Neither leader was removed from office. In 1974, Richard Nixon resigned from the presidency when it appeared he would be impeached.
I’m Mario Ritter, Jr.
The Associated Press reported this story. Ashley Thompson adapted it for VOA Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.
Words in This Story
impeach - v. to charge (a public official) with a crime done while in office
misdemeanor - n. a crime that is not very serious : a crime that is less serious than a felony
enlist - v. to get the support and help of (someone or something)
atrocious - adj. very evil or cruel
assault - n. the crime of trying or threatening to hurt someone physically