The House of Representatives on Wednesday impeached a president of the United States for only the third time in American history, charging that President Donald Trump abused his power when he tried to shake down the president of Ukraine in exchange for a personal political favor, then obstructed Congress as they tried to investigate his actions.
The vote to impeach Trump on the first of two articles of impeachment came at 8:09 p.m. and fell along party lines with only two members breaking Democratic ranks.
Rep. Jeff Van Drew, of New Jersey and Minnesota Rep. Collin Peterson, voted no on the first article of impeachment as did every Republican member in the chamber. Democrat Tulsi Gabbard, Hawaii, a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, voted present.
The second vote, on article two of the articles of impeachment, obstruction of Congress, was passed on a voice vote. Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-New York, called for a recorded vote. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, called for a five-minute vote.
On the second article of impeachment, the vote was 229 to 198, with Gabbard voting present. Drew and Peterson again voted no as did Rep. Jared Golden of Maine.
The votes followed a day filled with contentious debate despite an outcome that appeared all but certain in both the House and the Senate.
Democrats began the process that led to Wednesday’s vote in September when they launched an impeachment inquiry after a whistleblower alleged Trump tried to leverage military aid and a White House meeting in exchange for an announcement by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden for the younger Biden’s ties to a Ukrainian energy company.
No more questions
11:07 a.m. ET Dec. 2019: After her initial comments on impeachment, she tells reporters she will answer no more questions about it.
She tries to get reporters to ask questions about other issues and she gets one on the new trade agreement -- USMCA.
Pelosi is speaking
11 a.m. ET Dec. 19, 2019: Pelosi begins her press conference talking about the impeachment. "I have a spring in my step because of the moral compass of my caucus," Pelosi said, praising her House colleagues.
She then addressed what is next in the process.
“When we see the process set forth in the Senate (for the Senate trial) we will know how many and who the managers will be who will be sent to the Senate.”
Pelosi is next
10:40 a.m. ET Dec. 19, 2019: Pelosi will speak at her weekly press conference at 10:45 a.m.
Schumer is speaking
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is speaking
10:16 a.m. ET Dec. 19, 2019: McConnell is plotting the 'most unfair' trial in American history, Schumer says. He says he has some ideas that would make it fair. He would call only four witnesses and insist on strict time limits for each., he said.
McConnell: ‘Shoddy work product
10:10 a.m. ET Dec. 19, 2019: House Democrats may be too afraid to even transmit their shoddy work product to the Senate," McConnell said. "Looks like the prosecutors are getting cold feet in front of the entire country, and second-guessing whether they want to do to trial."
McConnell: Articles are ‘constitutionally incoherent’
10:05 a.m. ET Dec. 19, 2019: McConnell is arguing that the House has produced weak articles of impeachment because it did not cite criminal statues and that the Senate would have to come in and clean up what the House did.
“The Senate must put this right… There is only one outcome suited to the fact that the articles are constitutionally incoherent.”
9:50 a.m. ET Dec. 19, 2019: Said McConnell: "The House's vote yesterday was not some neutral judgment that Democrats came to with great reluctance. It was the predetermined end of a partisan crusade that began before President Trump was even nominated, let alone sworn in."
‘Thinnest, weakest case’
9:45 a.m. ET Dec. 19, 2019: McConnell continues to describe the "thinnest and the weakest" case for the impeachment of a U.S. president.
“Pelosi’s House gave in to a temptation every other house has managed to resist,” McConnell said.
Democrats, “finally did what they decided to do a long time ago – they voted to impeach President Trump,” said McConnell.
He called the inquiry “the most rushed, least thorough and most unfair impeachment inquiry in modern history.”
History and precedent matters, McConnell says, in talking about what should be considered when deciding whether presidents should be impeached.
McConnell is speaking now
9:30 a.m. ET Dec. 19, 2019: McConnell begins with slamming the Democrat's impeachment process. He said that their "slapdash process" has risked "deeply damaging government institutions."
He says that “Democrats made up their minds to impeach Donald Trump even before he was elected,” and has done it in a rushed manner.
McConnell to speak
8:57 a.m. ET Dec. 19, 2019: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will be speaking at 9:30 a.m. ET about what is next in the impeachment process.
Trump suggests John Dingell may be in hell
8:30 a.m. ET Dec. 19, 2019: In a surreal split-screen moment on Wednesday night, Trump began to speak at a rally in Michigan as the House was voting on his impeachment. Trump reported, in real-time, the results of the impeachment vote.
Following the vote, he took a swipe at Rep. Debbie Dingell, the widow of former House Rep. John Dingell who died earlier this year. “Debbie Dingell, that’s a real beauty,” Trump said before talking about how she had asked for special funeral arrangements for the late congressman.
“She calls me up. ‘It’s the nicest thing that’s ever happened. Thank you so much. John would be so thrilled, he’s looking down ...” Trump said, and then added, “Maybe he’s looking up, I don’t know.”
Dingell responded via Twitter after Trump’s comment: “Mr. President, let’s set politics aside. My husband earned all his accolades after a lifetime of service. I’m preparing for the first holiday season without the man I love. You brought me down in a way you can never imagine and your hurtful words just made my healing much harder.”
Will the articles be going to the Senate?
8:15 a.m. ET Dec. 19, 2019: Speaker Pelosi hinted on Wednesday night after the impeachment vote there could be a chance that the House does not immediately send the articles of impeachment to the Senate.
Citing her concern for a fair trial in the Senate, Pelosi said, “We cannot name managers (House appointees who will present the articles of impeachment in a Senate trial) until we see what the process is on the Senate side,” Pelosi said. “So far we haven’t seen anything that looks fair to us. So hopefully it will be fair. And when we see what that is, we’ll send our managers.”
According to a Washington Post story, Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Oregon, said he had spoken to at least 36 Democratic lawmakers who had expressed support for the idea of "rounding out the record and spending the time to do this right."
“At a minimum, there ought to be an agreement about access to witnesses, rules of the game, timing,” Blumenauer said of a Senate trial.
House will reconvene soon
8 a.m. ET Dec. 19, 2019: The House will reconvene at 9 a.m. today to consider their next steps in Trump's impeachment.
Pelosi is speaking now
9:05 p.m. ET Dec. 18, 2019: Pelosi is thanking her committee chairmen and chairwomen and the "patriots" who helped to "defend the Constitution."
Nadler says Trump deserved impeachment because he used his power for personal political gain. “It gives us no pleasure to stand here,” Nadler says.
Schiff says the “president of the United States should be tried.” He says now the Senate must hold a fair trial with witnesses. “We have done as the Framers would have us do,” Schiff said. “The question now is whether the Senate will do their duty.”
Voice vote on the second article of impeachment
8:34 p.m. ET Dec. 18, 2019: The voice vote on the second article of impeachment has passed. An electronic vote is requested by Nadler. The article passes 229 to 198.
Voice vote on the first article of impeachment
8:09 p.m. ET Dec. 18, 2019: The voted on the first article of impeachment is quickly called. It is a voice vote and the speaker pro tempore declares that the yes votes have it and Trump is impeached on the first article of impeachment. The Republicans request votes be counted and a 15-minute time period for a vote is called.
8 p.m. ET Dec. 18, 2019: Schiff has the last word in the debate as time is running out on the six hours of debate (plus the "magic minutes" the leadership gets to speak). Schiff takes swipes at the Republicans as they boo him.
He’s still the president
7:45 p.m. ET Dec. 18, 2019: Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-California, warns the speaker pro tempore that he is going to say something that Democrats won't like.
“Donald J. Trump is president of the United States. He is president today, he will be president tomorrow and he will be president when this is over.”
Hoyer: ‘We did not want this’
7:35 p.m. ET Dec. 18, 2019: Rep. Steny Hoyer, House majority leader, is jeered by Republicans as he says Democrats "did not want this impeachment."
Someone in the chamber yells, “Oh, come on!”
Hoyer talks about Rep. Justin Amash who left the Republican Party because of Trump’s actions, saying Amash put country above party.
“We need not ask who will be the first to show courage by standing up to President Trump,” Hoyer said. “The question we must now ask is who will be the last to find it.”
Scalise: Democrats hate the 63 million
7:15 p.m. ET Dec. 18, 2019: Rep. Steve Scalise, the House minority whip, says Democrats launched a "political vendetta" against Trump with the impeachment inquiry, which he said only stemmed from their "fear that he might win reelection."
“They made up these terms to impeach a president because they couldn’t find any crimes,” Scalise said. He said it was their “fear he might win reelection,” that led to the inquiry, and that Democrats clearly “hate” the 63 million people who voted for Trump.
Loud cheers go up for Scalise as he finishes his remarks.
Trump arrives in Michigan
What is a ‘goat rodeo?’
7 p.m. ET Dec. 18, 2019: Rep. Drew Ferguson, R-Georgia, calls the impeachment resolution a "goat rodeo.""
Nunes attacks Democrats’ ‘lust for power’
6:56 p.m. ET Dec. 18, 2019: Intelligence Committee ranking member Rep. Devin Nunes, R-California, accuses Democrats of bringing false allegations against Trump because he beat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.
“The only thing that Donald Trump is guilty of is beating Hillary Clinton,” Nunes said.
Nunes went on to say that Schiff and the Democrats have a “lust for power,” and will do anything to get it. Nunes’ phone records were released by his own committee during the impeachment inquiry.
Jim Jordan on the whistleblower, Schiff
6:47 p.m. ET Dec. 18, 2019: Jim Jordan argues about the process, the whistleblower ("the guy who started it all) and Democrats in general, then he lists wins for the Trump administration.
He moves on to Schiff, attacking him though not by name, saying he was the person who orchestrated the impeachment inquiry, released phone records of the president’s attorney, a journalist and Devin Nunes and met with the whistleblower.
Zeldin talks about Bidens, Schiff
6:25 p.m. ET Dec. 18, 2019: Rep.Lee Zeldin brings up the Bidens -- Joe and Hunter --, Ukraine and Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company. He pivots to attacking Schiff, saying he lied, cherry-picked facts and instructed witnesses not to answer Republican questions.
Maxine Waters restates the case
5:50 p.m. Dec. 18, 2019: Financial Servies Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters, D-California, restates the Democrats' case against Trump. He is a threat to all "if he is allowed to remain in office," she says.
Waters called for Trump’s impeachment more than two years ago.
Off to a rally
5:30 p.m. ET Dec. 18, 2019: Trump has left the White House, headed for a rally in Michigan tonight.
From Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Florida:
Amash speaks in favor of impeachment
4:40 p.m. ET Dec. 18, 2019: Rep. Justin Amash, the Michigan representative who left the Republican party over Trump's actions, argues that a vote for impeachment is "our duty."
John Lewis: ‘We didn’t ask for this’
4:25 p.m. ET Dec. 18, 2019: Rep. John Lewis, D-Georgia, tells colleagues they have a "moral obligation to say something, to do something."It has to be done, Lewis said, adding "We didn't ask for this."Lewis says there is "a mission and a mandate to be on the right side of history.
A moment of silence
4:15 p.m. Dec. 18, 2019: Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, asks that the House "pause for a moment and remember the voices of the 63 million American voters the Democrats today are wanting to silence."
Adam Schiff is now speaking
3:50 p.m. ET Dec.18, 2019: Nadler recognizes Schiff as his surrogate for the rest of the debate. Schiff borrows from Alexander Hamilton to slam Trump with terms like "riding the hobby horse of popularity." Schiff, who took the lead on most of the impeachment inquiry, lays out the Democrats' rationale for impeachment.
A pointed exchange
3:40 p.m. ET Dec. 18, 2019: Texas Rep. Louis Gohmert, R, gives an impassioned defense of Trump that ends with him saying he hopes he does not live to see what the country will become after this impeachment vote. Following his comments, he is chided by Rep. Nadler for spreading "Russian propaganda." Gohmert comes back to the well of the House and asks for time to respond to Nadler, but is denied the time.
Tlaib: ‘Doing nothing is not an option’
2:55 p.m. Dec. 18, 2019: Rep. Rashida Tlaib, who has been the topic of several Congress members' comments, says "Doing nothing here, Madam Speaker, is not an option. Looking away from these crimes against our country is not an option."
Many Republican representatives, including ranking member Collins, have quoted her using an expletive on the day she was sworn into Congress, saying that Trump would be impeached.
Pontius Pilate was fairer
2:20 p.m. ET Dec. 18, 2019: Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Georgia, compares Trump's impeachment to the trial of Jesus Christ. He says Jesus had more rights than the president did.
Lesko: They voted or impeachment before the call
1:55 p.m. ET Dec. 18, 2019: Rep. Debbie Lesko, R-Arizona, says the impeachment is a "total sham." Seventeen of the 24 members of the Judiciary Committee voted to impeach Trump before his call to the president of Ukraine.
Jeffries promises clarification
1:10 p.m. ET Dec. 18, 2019: Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-New York: "We will impeach Donald John Trump," Jeffries said. "And we will clarify that, in America, no one is above the law."
The debate continues
1 p.m. ET Dec. 18, 2019: Members of the Judiciary Committee are being recognized by Nadler and Collins. Comments are along partisan lines.
Some Democratic members are pledging to vote for impeachment. Republicans are calling out Democrats for rushing a “sham investigation’ in a partisan manner. Democrats are calling for Republicans to put the Constitution above their party.
Trump tweets again
‘There can be no serious debate about the evidence’
12:30 p.m. ET Dec. 18, 2019: Nadler says in his opening statement that Trump put his own political interests above the welfare of the country.
“After months of investigation, there can be no serious debate about the evidence at hand,” Nadler said.
He says Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, especially for suggesting that Joe Biden and Hunter Biden be investigated, should lead to his removal from office.
“For this alone, he should be impeached,” Nadler said.
“The president is not above the law, and he should be impeached for this as well,” Nadler added.
It’s Collins’ turn
12:20 p.m. ET Dec. 18, 2019: Rep. Doug Collins, R-Georgia, the ranking member of the House judiciary committee, mocks the comments of several Democrats who have spoken before him, particularly Pelosi.
“This is not a solemn occasion. They’ve been wanting to do this ever since the election.”
Collins says the Democrats had to impeach the president because they promised their base they would.
“They do not care about facts,” Collins said.
‘He gave us no choice’
12:08 p.m. ET Dec. 18, 2019: Speaker Pelosi begins her comments by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. She says we are here today to speak about the republic. No once comes to Congress to impeach a president, she says. I solemnly and sadly open the debate on impeachment of the president of the United States. … He gave us no choice."
She says the fact he violated the Constitution is unchallenged and that he is an “ongoing threat” to the country.
At the end of her comments, she references the late Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Maryland. She gets an ovation when she finishes.
Articles being read
12:02 p.m. ET Dec. 18, 2019: The House reading clerk, Joe Novotny, is reading the articles of impeachment. Following the reading, six hours of debate will begin.
How long will all of this take?
11:50 a.m. ET Dec. 18, 2019: Reporter Jamie Dupree is guessing the vote on impeachment will be late.
A vote for a vote
11:32 a.m. Dec. 18, 2019: Debate has ended on the Rules Committee resolution that sets the parameters for debate on the articles of impeachment. A vote is going on now. When that vote is completed, a vote on the rules resolution itself will follow.
Trump’s favorable rating goes up
11:30 a.m. Dec.18, 2019: A Gallup Poll released Wednesday shows Trump's job approval rate at 45%. While it is still lower than many presidents at the same point in their first administrations, it is a good number for Trump. His favorable rating has gone up six percent since the beginning of the impeachment inquiry in September.
11:05 a.m. ET Dec. 18, 2019: Hillary Clinton tweets about Trump's impeachment.
Kennedy speaks to his children
10:50 a.m. ET Dec. 18, 2019: Rep. Joe Kennedy, D-Massachusetts, speaks to his children from the well of the House: "Dear Ellie and James: This is a moment that you'll read about in your history books. Today, I will vote to impeach the president of the United States. And I want you to know why."
He is one of several Democrats who have mentioned their children or grandchildren in their comments so far.
Stand and identify yourself
10:25 a.m. ET Dec. 18, 2019: Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyoming, asks for a resolution that would require House members to stand, identify themselves and cast their vote so the American people will know how they are voting.
She is told that she was not properly recognized for such a motion.
A point of order from Rep. Steve Scalise
Republicans are 0-2 on resolutions
9:59 a.m. ET Dec. 18, 2019: The vote on adjournment has failed, and a motion to table McCarthy's resolution that condemns Schiff and Nadler has succeeded.
McCarthy slams Schiff, Nadler
9:36 a.m. ET Dec. 18, 2109: House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-California, introduces a resolution to condemn Rep. Adam Schiff, D-California, over his conduct throughout the impeachment process. The resolution mentions Schiff's retelling of Trump's phone call in July, and his denial to allow a minority hearing. Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-New York, is included in the measure as well. Schiff is the chairman of the Intelligence Committee and Nadler is the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.
The first Republican request
9:13 a.m. ET Dec. 18, 2019: The House has been gaveled into session. Republicans ask that the House be adjourned so as to stop "wasting time" with impeachment. They are voting on the measure now. It is the first in what could be many such measures proposed by Republicans today.
DeGette will serve as speaker pro tempore
8:55 a.m. ET Dec. 18, 2019: Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colorado, has been asked by Speaker Nancy Pelosi to serve as speaker pro tempore to preside over the House debate on impeachment.
A done deal?
8:30 a.m. ET Dec. 18, 2019: A tally compiled by The Associated Press found that a majority of House members have said they will vote to impeach Trump.
A long, historic day
8:15 a.m. ET Dec. 18, 2019: After the vote on the Rules Committee resolution, the House will begin debate on the articles of impeachment. If at the end of at least six hours of debate the resolution passes the House, it will be only the third time in the country's history that a president has been impeached.
The House will convene soon
8 a.m. ET Dec. 18, 2019: The House will convene in about an hour to debate and then vote on a resolution from the Rules Committee. The resolution basically lays out the procedure for today's impeachment vote.
A letter from Pelosi
6 p.m. ET Dec. 17, 2019: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi sent this letter to her Democratic Caucus members on Tuesday in advance of the vote on impeachment.