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House majority votes to impeach President Donald Trump for abuse of power; voting still underway

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Posted at 5:32 PM, Dec 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-18 20:39:13-05

The U.S. House has voted to impeach President Donald Trump for abuse power.

Voting is underway for obstruction of Congress.

Trump, accused of abusing his presidential power when he asked Ukraine to investigate his political rival ahead of the 2020 election and then obstructing Congress' investigation, would be just the third American president to be impeached, leaving a lasting stain on his tenure at the White House.

Ahead of the vote, Speaker Nancy Pelosi invoked the the Pledge of Allegiance and the Preamble to the Constitution in arguing that the Founders' vision for a republic was threatened by Trump's actions.

"Today we are here to defend democracy for the people,'' she said to applause from Democrats in the House chamber.

Trump, tweeting from the White House, used all capital letters and exclamation points to register his outrage: "SUCH ATROCIOUS LIES BY THE RADICAL LEFT, DO NOTHING DEMOCRATS. THIS IS AN ASSAULT ON AMERICA, AND AN ASSAULT ON THE REPUBLICAN PARTY!!!!"

The impeachment effort, unfolding over weeks and then a long final day of debate, has divided the lawmakers in Congress much the way Americans have different views of Trump's unusual presidency and the articles of impeachment against him. Yet the outcome was not in doubt.

According to a tally compiled by The Associated Press, a clear House majority of Democrats was ready to vote to impeach. No Republicans were expected to join them as the GOP stands by its president.

Next comes a January trial in the Senate, where a vote of two-thirds would be necessary for conviction. While Democrats have the majority in the House to impeach Trump, Republicans control the Senate, and few if any are expected to diverge from plans to acquit the president of the charges in the new year ahead of early state primary voting.