House votes to impeach US President Donald Trump

US President Donald Trump.
US President Donald Trump. Photo credit: Getty

The US House of Representatives voted on Wednesday (local time) to impeach Donald Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

It is only the third time in US history a president has been formally impeached.

Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton were also impeached, while Richard Nixon faced proceedings but resigned before being formally impeached.

No US President has so far been removed from office through impeachment.

Trump faced votes on two articles of impeachment: Abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

On both charges, the House passed the necessary 216 votes in favour of impeaching him.

In the article relating to abuse of power, there were 230 votes in favour and 197 against.

Included in the 'no' votes were three Democrats, Jeff Van Drew, Collin Peterson and Jared Golden.

On the second article, there were 229 'yes' votes compared to 198 'no' votes.

The House debated the articles for around eight hours before voting. 

Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Congress had "no choice" but to impeach Trump.

"If we do not act now we would be derelict in our duty," Pelosi said. "It is tragic that the president's reckless actions make impeachment necessary."

Republicans argued that the impeachment proceedings set a dangerous precedent.

"They hate this president," said Senator Chris Stewart. 

"If this impeachment is successful, the next president, I promise you, is going to be impeached. And the next president after that. If you set this bar as being impeachable, every president in our future will be impeached."

At the heart of the impeachment articles are accusations that Trump abused the power of his office by withholding millions of dollars of military aid to Ukraine in an attempt to pressure the country's president to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.

The impeachment trial will now move to the Senate, which will decide whether Trump should be removed from office.

However, as the Senate is controlled by the Republicans, it is widely believed Trump will be acquitted.