Donald Trump impeachment: Explained

V Nivedita | Updated on December 19, 2019 Published on December 19, 2019

US President Donald Trump (file photo)   -  REUTERS

Donald Trump, the 45th President of the United States, was impeached by the Democrat-controlled house of representatives on Wednesday night.

The 230-members of the house voted for the impeachment, while 197 members voted against it.

Now, trump will stand trial in the senate, which is controlled by the Republican Party. If he loses the trial, then, trump will be removed from office. This is unlikely was the republicans have supported Trump him, so far.

The background

The House Democrats have alleged that Trump used his office to pressure Ukraine to investigate a political rival.

They claimed that Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Hunter Biden, the son of former VP Joe Biden, who is leading the race to become the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee. Hunter was a board member in a Ukrainian gas company.

They also claimed that Trump also threatened to withhold military aid to Ukraine if they did not comply. This move by Trump -- asking a foreign government to help him win the election, is illegal the Democrats said. Thus, this was the basis by which Trump was impeached.

The allegation

On August 12, an anonymous intelligence official wrote a letter to the Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire, expressing concern over President Trump's conversation with Ukraine's President.

In the letter, the whistleblower expressed concern about Trump pressuring Ukraine to investigate the Bidens. They even raised concerns about Trump asking Ukraine to assist in the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election, which Trump believes had originated in Ukraine.

 They also said that Trump requested the Ukrainian leadership to locate and turn over servers used by the Democratic National Committee.

 Democrats also allege that the White House kept the July 25th phone conversation as a classified one to ensure Trump's requests are not known.

 This US House Intelligence Committee started investigations into Trump on the basis of the letter dated on September 24. Thus, this letter was the base on which Trump's impeachment was built on.

The White House and senior officials refused to participate in the investigation. It had refused to provide documents to Congressional investigators, told advisers and government officials to defy subpoenas and refused to testify.

The formal charges

On December 10, House Democrats announced formal charges against Trump. They accused him of abusing power and obstructing the Congress, making him only the fourth US president in history to face impeachment.

The 'abuse of power' charge is generally defined as using the powers of the presidency for personal benefit. The vote in the house of representatives show that the members believed that Trump used his power as the president to pressure Ukraine to investigate the Bidens.

The other charge - 'obstruction of Congress', was brought as the Trump administration did not cooperate with the Congress on the House’s impeachment inquiry. The White House did not hand in papers related to the inquiry and senior officials of the Trump administration did not respond to subpoenas.

(With inputs from agencies)

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Published on December 19, 2019
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