The U.S. House of Representatives is about to make a historic vote: whether to impeach President Donald Trump.
For that to happen, at least one of the two articles of impeachment needs to be passed. But the Democrat-led House is expected to impeach Trump, so Wednesday’s vote will likely be devoid of any suspense. By the end of the day, Trump could be the third president in U.S. history to be impeached.
The floor debate starts about 9 a.m., and it could run late into the day. As the debate begins, here’s what you need to know about the Trump impeachment and where Maine’s congressional delegation stands.
The House Judiciary Committee last week approved in a party-line vote two articles of impeachment: abuse of power and obstructing a congressional investigation.
Democrats charge that Trump abused his power when he pressed in a July phone call Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, to investigate his potential 2020 Democratic opponent, Joe Biden, while the White House withheld congressionally-approved military aid to the former Soviet bloc nation.
They contend that Trump obstructed a congressional investigation by blocking the House’s efforts to investigate the circumstances surrounding the July 25 phone call, which was the subject of a whistleblower complaint, and the hold on the military aid.
Yes. A running tally compiled by the Associated Press shows majorities in favor of impeaching Trump. But, as was expected, the votes will fall along party lines, with Republicans opposed and most Democrats supporting. A handful of moderate Democrats are expected to oppose at least one of the two articles.
If at least one of the two articles passes, the Senate will convene a trial and will decide whether to convict Trump. The Senate is controlled by Republicans, and the chamber is unlikely to convict the president.
Both of Maine’s Democratic representatives — Chellie Pingree of the 1st District and Jared Golden of the 2nd District — will vote for at least one of the two articles of impeachment. Pingree has said that she would vote to impeach the president on both articles, telling the Associated Press that “there is a mountain of evidence that Donald Trump used his office to solicit the interference of a foreign government in the 2020 election.”
Golden, a freshman who unseated two-term Republican Bruce Poliquin in a ranked-choice race in 2018, broke months of speculation on Tuesday when he said he would vote to impeach Trump on the charge of abusing the power of his office, but not the second charge of obstructing Congress. You can read his full statement here.
Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican, has maintained neutrality on impeachment, saying that she will serve on the Senate jury. Maine’s other U.S. senator, independent Angus King, also has not said how he will vote when impeachment comes before the Senate. King has previously called himself a “conservative” on impeachment.
The views among the 2020 contenders for Maine’s U.S. Senate and 2nd District races have largely fallen along party lines. But many of those running to oppose Collins next year — Sara Gideon, Brie Kidman, Ross LaJeunesse and Lisa Savage — haven’t committed to supporting impeachment, while others — Betsy Sweet and Danielle VanHelsing — have said they would impeach based on the current evidence. Nearly all of Golden’s potential Republican opponents have said they oppose impeachment.
Meanwhile, Republican William Cohen, who served in the U.S. House in the 1970s and as a member of the House Judiciary Committee voted to impeach Republican President Richard Nixon, has said that Republicans should hold Trump accountable and that Trump using his office to “solicit interference from a foreign country” constituted an “impeachable offense.”
New polls from The Washington Post/ABC News and CNN find support for impeachment and removal remains at about half of Americans, according to the Associated Press, which found in a recent poll that Trump’s approval rating is about 40 percent. No matter the outcome Wednesday, the American public will be sharply divided over it.