Trump has officially been impeached by the United States House of Representatives over his actions in the Ukraine scandal that has been plaguing his administration since September.
Two articles of impeachment, abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, were voted on and approved by the House members on Dec. 18. The votes were largely along party lines. All Republicans voted against both of the articles, joined only by Democrats Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey and Collin Peterson of Minnesota.
Democrat Rep. Jared Golden voted in favor of the first article of impeachment, abuse of power, but voted against the second, obstruction of Congress. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who is also running for Democratic presidential nominee, voted present for both articles. Rep. Justin Amash, the former Republican turned independent and one of the more conservative members of the House, voted in favor for both articles of impeachment. Rep. Bill Flores, whose district covers the Bryan-College Station area, also voted against both articles of impeachment.
As the House has officially voted on articles of impeachment, the next step is to submit the articles of impeachment to the Senate for a trial. Many of President Trump’s most ardent defenders have already said that they do not consider themselves impartial jurors and do not expect President Trump to be removed from office by the Republican-controlled Senate.
Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a Republican, predicted a quick and swift end to the articles once they reach the Senate.
“This thing will come to the Senate, and it will die quickly, and I will do everything I can to make it die quickly,” Graham said in an interview with CNN. “I am trying to give a pretty clear signal that I have made up my mind. I’m not trying to pretend to be a fair juror here.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he is in coordination with the White House on how to proceed with the articles of impeachment in the Senate.
“I’m not an impartial juror,” McConnell said in an interview with CNN. “This is a political process. There is not anything judicial about it. Impeachment is a political decision.”
Due to Senate GOP members openly declaring their loyalty to President Trump, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has threatened to withhold the articles of impeachment and not officially submit them to the Senate for a trial until the Senate lays out rules for the trial, according to ABC News.
“We would hope there would be a fair process just as I hope [Republicans] would honor the Constitution,” Pelosi said. “I don’t think [the Founding Fathers] suspected that we could have a rogue president and a rogue leader in the Senate at the same time.”
However, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said Democrats aren’t really considering withholding the articles of impeachment from the Senate, according to ABC News.
“I don’t think that that’s the path we’ll follow, but that does not mean we will immediately deliver [the articles to the Senate],” Hoyer said. “There are considerations relating to other legislation. As I understand the rules of the Senate, once they receive the articles they have to act, they have to go into trial, they can’t do any other work. So that will play into consideration.”
As impeachment turns to the Senate, Pelosi is tasked with naming impeachment managers who will present the case to the Senate and act as prosecutors in the Senate trial.
According to The Washington Post, a growing coalition of Democrats are pushing House leaders to appoint Rep. Amash as an impeachment manager. As one of the most conservative members of the House, Amash would be able to reach conservative voters in a way that Democrats may not be able to.
Rep. Dean Philips, a Democrat from Minnesota, said that Amash’s differing views on policy when compared to the Democrats would make him a good choice as an impeachment manager.
“There couldn’t be anyone perhaps in the entire U.S. House . . . whose general political views are as polar opposite from many of us in the Democratic Caucus,” Phillips said. “That’s what makes it such a powerful statement: that on the issue of our responsibility to our Constitution, we are perfectly aligned.”