The U.S. House of Representatives is headed Wednesday toward impeaching President Donald Trump, accusing him of abusing the power of the presidency to benefit himself politically and then obstructing Congress as it investigated his actions.
After a scheduled six hours of debate, the House is voting on two articles of impeachment targeting Trump. But with Democrats firmly in control of the chamber, the outcome does not appear in doubt: the Republican Trump would become the third U.S. president to be impeached in the country’s 243-year history.
LIVE: House debates impeachment
“Can you believe that I will be impeached today by the Radical Left, Do Nothing Democrats, AND I DID NOTHING WRONG!” he said. “A terrible Thing. Read the Transcripts. This should never happen to another President again. Say a PRAYER!”
Can you believe that I will be impeached today by the Radical Left, Do Nothing Democrats, AND I DID NOTHING WRONG! A terrible Thing. Read the Transcripts. This should never happen to another President again. Say a PRAYER!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 18, 2019
The impeachment votes are scheduled about the same time Trump is set to speak at a campaign rally in the midwestern state of Michigan, one of the pivotal states he won in the 2016 election that made him the 45th U.S. president.
In one article of impeachment, Democrats leading the charge against Trump accuse him of abusing the presidency by orchestrating a months-long effort to get Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate one of his chief 2020 Democratic challengers, former Vice President Joe Biden, his son Hunter Biden’s work for a Ukrainian natural gas company and a debunked theory that Ukraine meddled in the 2016 U.S. election to undermine Trump’s candidacy. His request came as he was temporarily withholding $391 million in military aid Ukraine wanted to help fight pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.
The second accusation alleges that Trump obstructed Congress by refusing to turn over thousands of pages of Ukraine-related documents to impeachment investigators and blocking key aides from testifying at weeks of inquiries Democrat-controlled House committees conducted about Trump’s actions.
What to Watch as Trump Impeachment Moves to House Floor The nation’s 45th president is on track to become only the third commander in chief to be impeached
Trump’s Republican supporters have steadfastly defended him and no Republican has announced their intention to vote for his impeachment. They contend that Trump did nothing wrong, arguing that the fact that Trump released the military assistance in September without Zelenskiy launching any investigations of the Bidens is proof that Trump did not engage in a reciprocal quid pro quo deal with the Ukrainian leader — the military aid in exchange for the politically tinged investigations.
Trump has on countless occasions has described his late July call with Zelenskiy as “perfect,” when he asked him to “do us a favor,” to investigate the Bidens and Ukraine’s purported role in the 2016 election. As the impeachment controversy mounted,Trump has subsequently claimed the “us” in his request to Zelenskiy referred not to him personally but to the United States.
WATCH: Trump faces possible impeachment
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In his ranting letter to Pelosi, Trump accused Democrats of engaging in a “perversion of justice” and an “attempted coup,” claiming his opponents had declared “open war on American Democracy.”
Among other vitriolic adjectives, Trump called the impeachment process “invalid,” “spiteful,” “meritless,” “disingenuous,” “baseless,” and “preposterous.”
Pelosi called the letter “really sick.”
She wrote to House members, saying that in considering whether to impeach a president, they would be exercising “one of the most solemn powers granted to us by the Constitution.”
Pelosi, for months reluctant to pursue Trump’s impeachment, concluded, “Very sadly, the facts have made clear that the President abused his power for his own personal, political benefit and that he obstructed Congress as he demanded that he is above accountability, above the Constitution and above the American people. In America, no one is above the law.”