After weeks of closed-door witness testimony, the U.S. House of Representatives has formally voted to proceed with the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump.
The measure passed Thursday along largely party lines in a 232-196 vote. The bill got zero support from Republicans, and two Democrats voted against it.
Trump, 73, was less than pleased with the decision and took to Twitter to voice outrage over what he called “The Greatest Witch Hunt in American History!”
Thursday’s tally marked the first formal floor vote in relation to the impeachment probe, following weeks of pressure on the Democrats — specifically House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — to hold a floor vote. Pelosi eventually gave into demands from Republicans, who’ve continued to smear the inquiry as a “sham” and a de facto “coup” against the POTUS.
However, Dems said the president has no one to blame but himself. Their investigation is a result of Trump’s phone call to the president of Ukraine on July 25 in which he used military aid as leverage in persuading the foreign government to investigate a political rival, former Obama administration Vice President Joe Biden.
As lawmakers gathered to vote on the resolution, Pelosi said it was a “sad day.”
“It’s a sad day, because nobody comes to Congress to impeach a president of the United States, no one,” she said in a news conference.
However, “We take an oath to protect the Constitution,” Pelosi continued. “And we cannot ignore — we will not ignore when the president’s behavior indicates that investigation, that that inquiry is necessary. As the inquiry proceeds, we will decide whether we go forward with impeachment. That decision has not been made.”
Still, Trump’s most ardent supporters have maintained that he did nothing wrong and that the investigation is wholly unnecessary.
White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement after that vote that “Speaker Pelosi and the Democrats have done nothing more than enshrine unacceptable violations of due process into House rules.”
Under the measure, the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs, Financial Services, Judiciary, and Ways and Means committees will proceed with their “ongoing investigations as part of the existing House of Representatives inquiry into whether sufficient grounds exist for the House of Representatives to exercise its constitutional power to impeach Donald John Trump.”
It further allows Republicans in the minority on the Judiciary and Intelligence Committees, in unanimity with committee chairs in the majority, the power to subpoena witnesses and compel their testimony.
The resolution also sets the stage for the impeachment proceedings to move into the public space sooner rather than later.