Trump becomes Third US President to be impeached; joins Johnson, Clinton
The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday impeached President Donald Trump for alleged abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
With this, Trump has become the third president in U.S. history to be impeached, after Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1999.
Trump, a Republican president, strongly denies the charges approved on Dec. 13 by the Judicial Committee of the House, which is controlled by the opposition Democratic Party.
The impeachment in the US context means indictment, not removal, and it is undertaken by the lower legislative chamber.
A president can only be removed from office on conviction by the Senate, acting on the impeachment, for `treason, bribery or other acts of gross misconduct.
The battle will now shift to the Senate where a two-thirds vote is required to remove the president, something that has never happened in the country.
Trump is unlikely to be convicted and removed by the Senate, which is controlled by his party whose members in the upper chamber are in support of the president.
The impeachment borders on allegation that the president solicited the interference of a foreign government (Ukraine) in the U.S. democratic process to boost his chances of re-election in 2020.
Trump is accused of pressuring Ukraine to unearth damaging information on former Vice President Joe Biden, who is one of his main Democratic challengers for the presidency in 2020, and his son Hunter.
The president allegedly used a 400-million-dollar military aid approved by Congress to Ukraine, and a White House meeting for Ukraine’s president, as bargaining chips.
Democrats argue that Trump’s actions amount to abuse of presidential power for his personal political gain at the expense of national security.
The president is also accused of obstructing Congress by refusing to co-operate with the congressional inquiry, according to the BBC.
Trump has denied the allegations, dismissing the impeachment move as a “witch hunt” by Democrats and a section of the U.S. of the media.