President Donald Trump has been impeached. Officially and, perhaps, at long last.
The US House of Representatives – controlled by the opposing Democratic Party – voted to impeach Trump on the both of the two Articles of Impeachment a short time ago, with the votes passing the 216-vote threshold required.
Trump was impeached on the first of two articles of impeachment put to the floor of Congress, accusing Trump of an abuse of power regarding his alleged threats to Ukraine to withhold foreign aid unless they provided election campaign assistance by investigating the Biden campaign.
The second of two articles alleges an obstruction of Congress, accusing Trump and his administration of instructing Government officials not to comply with various Congressional subpoenas.
With that, Trump becomes just the third sitting US President to be impeached by the House, following on from Andrew Johnson in 1868, and Bill Clinton in 1998. Richard Nixon was the subject of Impeachment proceedings across 1973 and 1974 that did ultimately pass, but the process was rendered moot by Nixon’s resignation.
While this is a significant step towards a potential ousting of Trump from the White House, there remains a long road ahead before that happens.
It’s important to understand that Impeachment does not mean removal or firing. Rather, it’s an official levelling of charges against an elected official. More akin to a criminal indictment rather than a conviction.
From here, Trump will be subject to a trial in the US Senate, which sports a Republican majority. They will ultimately decide whether to convict the President and eject him from office, something that has never happened in US history. Owing to that Republican majority, this seems unlikely to occur here. Our expanded explainer on the process can be found here.
Trump has used the day to hold a rally for supporters in Michigan, with campaign officials hopeful that the Impeachment proceedings will create a reactionary groundswell of support for the President as the US heads toward the 2020 election.
Whether or not that works, Impeachment proceedings loom as a dominating storyline in the Presidential election timeline. For better or, more likely, for worse.