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The House of Representatives voted to impeach President Donald Trump Wednesday evening, marking just the third time in U.S. history that a sitting president has been impeached, following Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998.
Neither Johnson nor Clinton were ultimately removed from office, and it is unlikely that Trump will be, either.
The outcome was reached as a result of two largely party-line floor votes on the two articles of impeachment introduced against Trump last week.
On the first article pertaining to abuse of power, the House voted 230 to 197.
A second article pertaining to obstruction of Congress passed with a vote of 229 to 198.
There are currently 233 Democratic members in the House, 197 Republican members, 1 Independent member, and 4 vacancies.
Rep. Justin Amash (I-Mich.) sided with Democrats in voting for both articles, while Reps. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) and Jeff Van Drew (D-N.J.) joined Republicans in voting against both articles of impeachment, making the opposition to impeachment bipartisan, while only one party supported impeachment.
Tuesday night, knowing it would not change the outcome of the vote but desiring to express his thoughts for public and historical record, Trump sent a savage missive to Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) denouncing the “partisan impeachment crusade.” In the letter, he excoriated Pelosi and fellow Democrats in the House for moving forward in the “spiteful” and “unprecedented” process.
“More due process was afforded to those accused in the Salem Witch Trials,” he said.
What happens now?
Now that the House has voted to approve the two articles of impeachment, the process is passed on to the Senate, where a trial is expected to take place.
What exactly the trial will look like is still to be determined, with Senate leaders Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) already reportedly clashing over the structure.
Because the impeachment trial is a political, not a legal, process, there is some flexibility with how the Senate can choose to go about it. For example, the Senate can choose to call witnesses to give public testimony as it did for Andrew Johnson or choose not to as it did for Bill Clinton.
No matter the look or length of the trial, though, it eventually will require a vote in which a two-thirds majority, or 67 senators would need to vote “yes” on the impeachment charges to effectively remove the president from office.
This is an unlikely outcome as Republicans currently hold a majority over Democrats in the congressional chamber — 53 to 45 (with two independents who typically vote with the Democrats). Consequently, 20 Republicans would need to defect to remove Trump. As of yet, there has been no indication that anywhere near this number are even on the fence about the matter.
Senate leaders are planning to launch trial proceedings in January.