(CNN) – President Donald Trump was indicted by the House of Representatives in a near-bench vote on December 18. However, he remains the president of the United States.
What comes next is a trial in the Senate early next year that could – probably not – cost the White House.
What happens now?
The president of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, did not commit on Wednesday night to send the two charges of political trial to the Senate.
"That would have been our intention, but we will see what happens there," the California Democrat said in his press conference.
Some progressives have urged Democratic leaders to hold charges until Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, accepts the procedures for the trial that Democrats have requested, and also agrees to bring first-time witnesses hand as the head of the White House interim cabinet Mick Mulvaney to testify.
Pelosi said the Democrats will make the decision "as a group" on when to send the charges to the Senate. It is not clear what advantages there may be in clinging to them.
However, there were procedural concerns if the charges were not sent on Wednesday night: the Senate would have to resume them on Thursday, and with that the action would be closed, which could interfere with a mandatory spending bill. The Chamber must also appoint political trial managers for the trial.
"We cannot appoint managers until we see what the Senate side process is, and we hope it will be soon," Pelosi said. "So far we have not seen anything that seems fair, so I hope it is fair."
How the historic vote happened
The House exercised its constitutional right to accuse Trump of crimes and misdemeanors through votes on two charges of political trial that, at this point, are familiar to most Americans and now turn to history books:
– Abuse of power for his effort to retain taxpayers' money to Ukraine and get that country to investigate its political rival, former vice president Joe Biden;
– Congress Obstruction for his refusal to cooperate with the supervisory investigation.
Mathematics of political judgment
The charge on abuse of power was approved 230-197 with a legislator, the representative of Hawaii, Tulsi Gabbard, present at the vote. An independent who supported the political trial and two Democrats opposed both charges of political trial, along with all Republicans. A Democrat divided the votes, supporting the charge on abuse of power but without obstruction of Congress.
The obstruction charge of Congress passed 229-198 with Gabbard as the present voter.
The “present vote” It is when a legislator does not vote neither yes nor no, and refuses to take sides in the vote. A “present” vote does not count for or against the initiative being voted, but it contributes to quorum.
While the vote was taking place, Trump was at a Christmas campaign rally in Battle Creek, Michigan, which is the district represented by Rep. Justin Amash, the former independent Republican who voted to dismiss him. Trump delayed his appearance to see the vote.
"After three years of sinister hunt for witches, hoaxes, scams, House Democrats are trying to nullify the votes of tens of millions of patriotic Americans," he said.
Trump is furious
Before Bill Clinton was charged, the then president apologized for his behavior, which embarrassed and hurt his wife and teenage daughter, as well as countless other citizens. Trump has shown no contrition for actions he believes were not bad at all.
The accusation has consumed Trump's time
The accusation has wasted his time, between writing an angry letter to Pelosi, calling his partners to vent at dawn and planning his defense in a Senate trial, Kevin Liptak of CNN wrote. The president has been ranting about the accusation of phone calls with Republican members of Congress during the last days and nights, according to multiple Republican sources.
What Trump said about Obama
We know that Trump realizes that impeachment is a stain on his presidency. CNF's KFile unearthed an appearance of Fox News 2014 in which Trump explained the damage the accusation would do to Obama.
"It would be a disaster. I wouldn't be thinking about anything more than that. It would be a horror show for him. It would be an absolute shame. It would remain in your registry permanently. ”
- Look: Pelosi: Trump is a continuing threat to US national security.
The points of view
Democrats try to look bleak and sad
When she announced that the first article of political trial had passed, the president of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, made a hand gesture, while holding her hammer, as if to cut the celebration.
Pelosi wore black, as if in mourning: a counterpoint to the target she and other women Democrats used for the State of the Union Speech last year. And the Democrats strove to make it clear that they were not happy to be accusing Trump, but were sad and had a bleak duty.
Steny Hoyer, the leader of the majority of the House of Representatives, said Democrats slowly made the decision to accuse Trump and ignored other prosecutable conduct during and after Russia's investigation. They could not ignore what Trump did in Ukraine, he said.
A day of debate and clashes
Rep. Doug Collins, the highest-ranking Republican in the House Judicial Commission, threw darts aimed at Democrats and tried to dismiss the case against Trump during the course of the day while Rep. Adam Schiff exchanged, defending the trial process. politician and attacking the president's behavior.
What is the will of the people?
A Republican maintained a false moment of silence for the 63 million voters whose voice was being lost because, he said, Democrats were ignoring his will.
House number two Republican Steve Scalise sneered when he accused Democrats of hating Trump and hating Trump's 63 million voters. Scalise said the effort against Trump is a "political trial in search of a crime."
The Democrats did not respond with the argument that the Constitution assumes that the House is the closest body to the people in the country, and there was an intermediate election in 2018 that gave them power.
The case for the story
Representative John Lewis, the Democratic and civil rights icon of Georgia, delivered a moving speech in which he said that history will remember this moment and lawmakers must vote with that in mind.
“When you see something that is not right, that is not fair, is not right, you have a moral obligation to say something, to do something. Our children and their children will ask us, what did you do? What did you do? For some, this vote can be difficult, but we have a mission and a mandate to be on the right side of the story. ”
Conclusion: Trump is still the president
History can see the vote one way, but as minority leader Kevin McCarthy pointed out, Trump will remain president in the immediate future after this effort ends and, almost certainly, after a Senate trial.
Gabbard votes present
Representative Tulsi Gabbard, a Hawaiian Democrat running for president, gave a vote. She has not supported the political trial effort in the election campaign. Her unique views on foreign policy have made her a kind of loner in the Democratic party recently.
Note: Gabbard did not qualify for the Democratic debate on December 19 at night.
No dissent is tolerated, on either side
The exceptions to the vote of the party line demonstrated how partisan Trump's impeachment was made.
The representative Justin Amash, the exrepublican of an undecided district in Michigan, who was essentially expelled from the Republican Party for his criticism of Trump, spoke in the House from the Democratic side about his support for the accusation, rooted in constitutional duty.
Rep. Jeff Van Drew, a Democrat from an undecided district in New Jersey, saw his advisors resign when he opposed the indictment this week. He will soon join the Republican Party, but opposed the impeachment as a Democrat, along with the moderate Collin Peterson of Minnesota.
Another Democrat, Rep. Collin Peterson of Minnesota, who has not said whether he will run for re-election, opposed both charges of political trial. Democratic representative Jared Golden of Maine supported Trump's impeachment for abuse of power, but not for obstructing Congress.
‘An armed political tool’
If there was a Republican who could have supported the impeachment, it was Will Hurd, the moderate in retirement from Texas. But he went against the effort, arguing that while he did not agree with Trump's foreign policy decisions, he had not seen evidence of attributable crimes and disagreed with the way the Democrats acted in the impeachment process. .
"A dangerous precedent will be set today," he said. “The accusation becomes an armed political tool. We know how this partisan party works tonight, but what happens tomorrow? Can this camera leave its swords and return to work for the American people? ”
"The president and his men conspire"
Representative Adam Schiff of California, who led the political trial effort in the Intelligence Commission, argued that now is the time to act against Trump since, he said, prosecutable behavior continues.
“The president and his men conspire. The danger persists. The risk is real. Our democracy is in danger, ”said Schiff. “But we are not without a remedy prescribed by the founders just because of these circumstances. Political judgment. The only question is whether we will use it or if we have been victims of another evil that the founders warned, the excess of facts, the elevation of the party over the country.
What the impeachment could mean for the Democrats
CNN's Chris Cillizza argues that the trend line in recent weeks suggests that the intense focus on recall has helped marginally, but has not hurt Trump. The change in public opinion is slight, yes. And it may well be temporary. But for the moment, it is the kind of thing that has to make Democrats a little (and maybe more than a little) nervous on the path they have chosen.
The first defender of political judgment has his opinion and will not rule out another political trial
Representative Al Green of Texas was at the forefront of political judgment. Democrats like Pelosi used to dismiss him for that. Not now. But his spirit was in the speeches of the Republicans who said that the Democrats had been planning this political trial from the moment they obtained the majority.
Green gave a brief speech at the Chamber.
“If this president is allowed to thwart congressional efforts with a legitimate impeachment investigation, the president will not only be above the law, but will be beyond justice. We cannot allow any person to be beyond justice in this country, ”said Green.
"Epitome of madness" and more dismissals
He later said he would not rule out another or more recall efforts if, as expected, this failure in the Senate.
“The president says that if he goes out and shoots someone, he will maintain his support base. If you do it with malice and foresight, you can be charged. It would be the epitome of madness to conclude that a president can only be charged once, ”said Green.
Since Pelosi only supported this after the Ukrainian scandal broke out, it is not a good bet that there will be more.
Dust off Russian propaganda
When Rep. Louie Gohmert, the Texas Republican, argued that Trump had backed Ukraine, Rep. Jerry Nadler, chairman of the Judicial Commission of the House of Representatives, said he was worried about any member who "launched Russian propaganda in the House "
Gohmert turned around and yelled at Nadler as he pointed at him, repressing him for speaking out of turn.
Trump, Jesus, the complainant and a seriously flawed analogy
Rep. Barry Loudermilk, a Republican from Georgia, reminded everyone that Christmas is one week away. And he made a tense religious parallel between the trial of Jesus and Trump's political trial and the continuous anonymity of the complainant.
“When Jesus was falsely accused of treason, Pontius Pilate gave Jesus the opportunity to confront his accusers. During that mock trial, Pontius Pilate granted more rights than the Democrats to this president and this process, ”said Loudermilk.
But Loudermilk did not mention that Trump has really accused the whistleblower, which ruins the metaphor.
It's December, after all
The Democrats worked hard to be solemn and sad at the House premises, but Twitter had other ideas. Thus was born ‘Merry Impeachmas’ (a pun between Merry Christmas and ‘Impeachment’).
But people on Twitter were not the only one who invoked the holidays.
Rep. Scott Perry, a Pennsylvania Republican, wore a "Ho Ho Ho" tie for his speech in the courtroom.
What are we doing here?
The president has invited foreign powers to interfere in the presidential elections of the United States. The Democrats have accused him for it. The following is a trial in the Senate to decide whether to remove him from office. It is a crossroads for the US government system when the president tries to change what is acceptable to American politicians. This newsletter will focus on this consistent moment in the history of the United States.
– Haley Byrd, Manu Raju and Phil Mattingly of CNN contributed to this report.