Trump impeachment: US House sends historic case to Senate

Lalit K Jha

Washington, Jan 16 (PTI) The US House of Representatives passed a resolution and submitted the articles of impeachment against Donald Trump to the Senate for a historic trial to remove him from office, a move described by the unfazed President as 'another con job' by the Opposition Democrats.

The House, controlled by the Democratic Party on Wednesday voted to send articles of impeachment against President Trump to the Senate, in a major development to remove him from office for his alleged abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

In a 228-193 vote, which was mainly on party lines, the House appointed seven impeachment managers who will argue the Democrats' case for removing Trump from the office of the US President.

The managers were named by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

'We are here today to cross a very important threshold in American history,' Pelosi said, addressing the House before the vote.

'This is what an impeachment is about,' she said earlier, announcing the seven-member prosecution team led by Congressman Adam Schiff, chairman of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

'So sad, so tragic for our country, that the actions taken by the president to undermine our national security, to violate his oath of office and to jeopardize the security of our elections, has taken us to this place,' Pelosi remarked, before using several ceremonial pens to sign the articles.

While Pelosi's press conference was in progress, Trump weighed in on Twitter: 'Here we go again, another Con Job by the Do Nothing Democrats. All of this work was supposed to be done by the House, not the Senate!' The 435-member House, where Democrats enjoy a majority, on December 18 charged Trump with 'high crimes and misdemeanors' and impeached him for pressuring Ukraine to investigate former US Vice President Joe Biden, a potential Democratic rival for the current president in the 2020 elections.

The Senate, controlled by Trump's Republican Party, will decide whether to convict and remove him from office.

The seven managers, after Pelosi's signature, then walked the articles across the Capitol Rotunda in a procession to the Senate, where majority leader Mitch McConnell received the documents.

The impeachment process now moves to the Senate where Trump's Republican Party has majority of 53-47 in the 100-member Upper House.

The trial - likely to begin on January 21 - would be presided by the Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts.

Given that the Republicans have the majority in the Senate, White House is confident that Trump will sail through the impeachment process.

The Senate trial will be only the third of a US president in history.

Conviction in the Senate would require a two-thirds vote, a high threshold that is not expected to be reached given that many Republican senators have been vocal in saying that President Trump's actions do not rise to the level of impeachment.

But regardless of the outcome, the Senate trial will be a historic and momentous event. The Democrats hope the impeachment will carry symbolic weight ahead of this year's General Elections.

During a China trade deal signing ceremony at the White House, Trump described this as a hoax and asserted that the it is going week.

The Trump Campaign also slammed Pelosi for the impeachment process.

'The fact that Nancy Pelosi sat on the articles of impeachment for as long as she did just proves that there was never any urgency and that it was just a failed attempt to politically damage President Trump leading up to his re-election,' alleged Brad Parscale, Trump 2020 campaign manager.

'This was a sham impeachment from the beginning and never anything more than Democrats trying to interfere in an election that is now less than ten months away,' Parscale said.

Speaking on the House floor, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler said that this trial is necessary because Trump gravely abused the power of his office when he strong-armed a foreign government to announce investigations into his domestic political rival.

'He betrayed our country when he used the powers of his office -- including withholding vital US military assistance -- to pressure that government to help him win re-election,' Nadler said.

'He invited foreign interference into our elections - again. He jeopardised our national security. He did it all for his personal, political gain. And then he violated the Constitution by stonewalling Congress' efforts to investigate, ordering an absolute blockade of evidence,' the Democratic lawmaker said.

'Despite that, the House was able to uncover powerful evidence that demonstrates beyond doubt the President's betrayal and violations of the Constitution,' he said. PTI LKJ CPS AKJ AKJ

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