|Impeachment of Donald Trump|
Mike Pence being sworn in as the 46th President • Former President Trump leaving for his home in New York • Senate impeachment proceedings • Protests outside the White House during the trials
The impeachment of Donald Trump was initiated by the House of Representatives in early January of 2020 and led to the trial in the Senate of Donald Trump, 46th President of the United States on two charges, one of them being obstruction of justice and the other being conspiracy to commit collusion. These charges stemmed from the Russian interference in the 2016 elections. Trump was found guilty of the obstruction of justice charge on June 28th, 2019, and removed from office, the first in American history.
Leading to the impeachment, Independent Counsel Robert Mueller turned over documents to the House Judiciary Committee. The Chief Prosecutor and their team reviewed over the documentation and announced that there was sufficient evidence to impeach the president. The two charges of obstruction of justice and conspiracy to collude were considered and passed the House of Representatives. This would make Trump the third president to be impeached (after Clinton and Johnson), and after the conclusion of the Senate trial, the first president in American history to be removed from office.
The trial would take place during the 116th Congress, in which Republicans would hold 51 seats, while the Democrats would hold 49 of those seats. A two-thirds vote (67 votes required) was needed to remove Trump. Exactly 67 Senators would vote to remove Trump on one of the charges, involving the flipping of 18 GOP senators which has been considered one of the biggest shocks in American political history and ultimate betrayal of the party itself. Trump would be the first president in American history to be removed from office.
In the 2016 presidential election, it had been concluded by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) that Russia attempted to sway the election in Trump's favor by damaging Clinton's campaign while bolstering Sanders', Stein's, and Trump's campaigns. Along with spreading false "or fake" news to cause further division in an attempt to undermine American democracy and make people distrust the system. Russian President Vladimir Putin supposedly personally ordered the influencing of the election, but had denied any involvement in the election whatsoever. At the time, President Barack Obama ordered the expulsion of Russian diplomats, expanded sanctions against Russia, and called for an investigation into the events.
When Trump took office in January, 2017 Trump would go back and forth on weather or not Russia had influenced the election. He would most famously take the side of Russian President Putin over his own intelligence agencies by saying Russia didn't influence the election while at a summit with Putin in Helsinki, July 16, 2018. Trump would also call the election multiple times a "witch hunt" by the Democrats, calling it an act of revenge for his win against Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election. Polls during the investigation would suggest that the American people didn't approve of Trump's handling of the investigation. Republicans in Congress would also come to the defense of the president, while Representative Devin Nunes (who lead the House investigation until 2019) would say in 2018 that the Republicans needed to protect the President at all costs, and ensure a win by Republicans to keep the House. This would cause backlash and the questions of Republicans true intentions with the investigation.
Also Trump and Trump-aligned Republicans would call for multiple other investigations against people against the President. This would include calls for a new investigation into Hillary Clinton, an investigation of ethics by former FBI Director James Comey, and most notably the attempted impeachment of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
Special Counsel investigation
On May 9, 2017 Trump dismissed FBI Director James Comey, who was leading the Russian investigation, citing his dissatisfaction with the entire probe. This caused many to call this "obstruction of justice" for firing Comey because he didn't like the investigation. Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the investigation, so Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller to run the investigation. The investigation would also investigate financial ties between Russian officials and Trump affiliates, including Paul Manafort, Carter Page, and Roger Stone.
One of the great debates during this trial would be, if Trump would conduct an interview with Special Counsel Mueller. His lawyer, Rudy Giuliani had contradicted himself multiple times on weather or not this would be the case. Giuliani would demand an interview by September 1st, 2018 but nothing would come of it. Trump would finally agree to sit down with Mueller and his team, which would take place November 4th, 2018 (one day after the mid-term elections). There would be some talk of Trump testifying in a public hearing, but Trump publicly declined this. Not much of the dialogue would be released, but sources said that he had avoided multiple important questions and used the 5th amendment a number of times as well.
On April 30th, 2019 Robert Mueller completed his investigation and announced that he and his team had found that President Trump had obstructed justice during the investigation and that his campaign had committed conspiracy to collude with Trump having knowledge of it, along with many cases of tax fraud by Trump. Mueller called for the impeachment and removal of President Trump for "high crimes and misdemeanors".
Impeachment by the House of Representatives
During the 115th Congress, the Republican majority had conducted their own investigation into Russian collusion but was subsequently closed in early 2018, much to President Trump's support.
Republican members of the House were determined to keep the United States House of Representatives in their control, in order to protect President Trump. This allegation was proven when California Representative Devin Nunes (who was the Chairman of the House Select Committee on Intelligence, which was also looking into Trump) was recorded talking at a fundraiser saying, "If Sessions won't un-recuse and Mueller won't clear the President, we're the only ones, which is really the danger ... we have to keep all these seats. We have to keep the majority." This revealed that Nunes and other Republican House members were determined to protect the President no matter what.
Nunes', Trump's, and other Republicans efforts to keep the House failed in the November 2018 elections where Democrats gained 22 seats, and thus a majority. Republicans were thrown into the minority, and this was seen as a major embarrassment to Trump. Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi announced soon after that they will be looking into Trump and possible obstruction of justice charges. The new House Select Committee on Intelligence began looking into the connections between Trump and Russian officials, along with obstruction of justice, conspiracy to collude, and tax fraud to the President and his close allies.
When Mueller ended his investigation on April 30th, 2019 the House Select Committee on Intelligence ended their investigation as well and decided to take Mueller's word because of his extensive investigation. On May 3rd, 2019 the House Judiciary Committee voted in favor of impeaching Trump and would move onto the rest of the House to vote on a day later.
On May 4th, 2019, Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives on grounds of obstruction of justice (by a 222-213 vote), conspiracy to commit collusion with a foreign nation (by a 222-213 vote), and tax fraud (by a 222-213 vote). Thus, Trump was the 3rd president in American history to be impeached by the House of Representatives; although was the 4th to have initiated impeachment proceedings in the House, where Nixon had proceedings started against him but resigned before a vote could take place.
None of the Republicans voted in favor of charging the president with any of the crimes.
Article I charged that Trump had Obstructed Justice:
- Creating false public statements about a June 2016 meeting between his son and Russian officials
- Trump pressured FBI Director Comey to "go easy" on Michael Flynn
- His intentions to fire Director Comey over his disliking of the investigation
- Pressuring Attorney General Sessions not to recuse himself from the investigation
- Offering to pardon people who might testify against him
Article II charged that Trump's campaign conspired to collude with Russian officials:
- Calling on the Russian government to hack and release Clinton's emails
- Michael Cohen’s January 2016 email to Dmitry Peskov
- Ivanka Trump’s October 2015 exchange with Dmitry Klokov
- Carter Page/George Papadopoulos communicating with Russian officials
- Donald Trump Jr. takes meeting with Deputy Governor of Russian Central Bank
- Trump Tower Meeting, where Trump Jr., Manafort, and Kushner attempted to get information from a Russian lawyer connected with the Russian Government
Conviction by the Senate
The Senate trial had begun on June 4th, 2019 with Chief Justice John Roberts presiding. From the House of Representatives, Democratic Representative Adam Schiff of California and Republican Representative John Katko of New York served as the prosecutes for the Senate case. While, for President Trump, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani served as the defense along with White House Counsel Don McGahn.
It was decided the next day that the trial would be broadcast live on telivison for the world to see, along with the rules for the trial also being set the same day. The prosecution began their case on June 6th through the 9th. They detailed their reasoning and grounds for both articles of impeachment for the President, along with applying the law to the case and suggesting that Trump lied to Special Counsel Mueller when he sat down for an interview with him. Schiff declared that, "A president who has lied to the nation multiple times, knew of his campaign colluding with a foreign nation and stood in the face of justice is someone we cannot trust to lead the most powerful nation in the world." The defense began their case from the 9th to the 11th. Giuliani presented that the entire case had been built up upon the political bias of the Democrats in an act of revenge for Trump winning in 2016, that Trump's sit down with Mueller was a "perjury trap", political bias by Mueller along with his team, and most famously saying that collusion in of itself was not a crime. The 11th to the 13th was questions for the prosecution and Trump's defense counsel. All questions were written down and given to Justice Roberts to be read aloud.
From June 15th to the 18th, witnesses were called to testify publicly. The prosecution's witnesses included Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump, Eric Trump, Carter Page, James Comey, George Papadopoulos, Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn, Rick Gates, Jeff Sessions, Rod Rosenstein, John Podesta, and most famously Hillary Clinton (along with other intelligence officials). The defense used considerably less witnesses, with Peter Strzok, again James Comey, and again Rod Rosenstein. The defense's lack to use witnesses were seen as a major weakness for them. The mostly watched day was the 18th when Hillary Clinton and James Comey were called to testify.
Closing statements were made on June 21st, 2019. The next day on June 22nd, after voting against a public deliberation, the Senators began close door deliberations.
On June 28th, the Senators emerged from deliberations and headed for a public vote. This day was the most watched out of all of the trial, with over 45 million people watching around the world. A two-thirds vote was needed to remove the president. On the obstruction of justice charge was approved with 67 for conviction and 33 against. The conspiracy to collude charge was defeated with a vote of 60 for conviction and 40 against. Still, with the obstruction of justice charge passed, the president was convicted and thus removed from office.
The "Obstruction of Justice" charge was the most powerful in the Senate, with all 49 Democrats and 18 Republicans voting to charge Trump. The Obstruction charge passed with the majority of 67 votes, and Trump was officially charged on that. The "Conspiracy to Collude" charge failed, with only 46 votes in it's favor; while 3 Republicans did vote in it's favor, 3 Democrats voted against it (Mostly southern or conservative Democrats).
|State||Senator||Party||Obstruction of Justice|
of Pres. Trump
|Conspiracy to Collude|
charge vote of Pres. Trump
|Alabama||Doug Jones||D||Guilty||Not Guilty|
|Alabama||Richard Shelby||R||Not Guilty||Not Guilty|
|Alaska||Dan Sullivan||R||Not Guilty||Not Guilty|
|Alaska||Lisa Murkowski||R||Guilty||Not Guilty|
|Arkansas||Tom Cotton||R||Guilty||Not Guilty|
|Arkansas||John Boozman||R||Not Guilty||Not Guilty|
|Colorado||Cory Gardner||R||Guilty||Not Guilty|
|Florida||Marco Rubio||R||Guilty||Not Guilty|
|Florida||Rick Scott||R||Guilty||Not Guilty|
|Georgia||David Perdue||R||Not Guilty||Not Guilty|
|Georgia||Jonny Isakson||R||Guilty||Not Guilty|
|Idaho||Jim Risch||R||Not Guilty||Not Guilty|
|Idaho||Mike Crapo||R||Not Guilty||Not Guilty|
|Indiana||Mike Braun||R||Guilty||Not Guilty|
|Indiana||Todd Young||R||Guilty||Not Guilty|
|Iowa||Joni Ernst||R||Guilty||Not Guilty|
|Iowa||Chuck Grassley||R||Not Guilty||Not Guilty|
|Kansas||Pat Roberts||R||Guilty||Not Guilty|
|Kansas||Jerry Moran||R||Not Guilty||Not Guilty|
|Kentucky||Mitch McConnell||R||Not Guilty||Not Guilty|
|Kentucky||Rand Paul||R||Not Guilty||Not Guilty|
|Louisiana||Bill Cassidy||R||Not Guilty||Not Guilty|
|Louisiana||John N. Kennedy||R||Guilty||Not Guilty|
|Maryland||Chris Van Hollen||D||Guilty||Guilty|
|Mississippi||Roger Wicker||R||Not Guilty||Not Guilty|
|Mississippi||Cindy Hyde-Smith||R||Not Guilty||Not Guilty|
|Missouri||Roy Blunt||R||Not Guilty||Not Guilty|
|Missouri||Josh Hawley||R||Not Guilty||Not Guilty|
|Montana||Jon Tester||D||Guilty||Not Guilty|
|Montana||Steve Daines||R||Not Guilty||Not Guilty|
|Nebraska||Deb Fischer||R||Guilty||Not Guilty|
|Nebraska||Ben Sasse||R||Not Guilty||Not Guilty|
|New Hampshire||Jeanne Shaheen||D||Guilty||Guilty|
|New Hampshire||Maggie Hassan||D||Guilty||Guilty|
|New Jersey||Bob Menendez||D||Guilty||Guilty|
|New Jersey||Cory Booker||D||Guilty||Guilty|
|New Mexico||Martin Heinrich||D||Guilty||Guilty|
|New Mexico||Tom Udall||D||Guilty||Guilty|
|New York||Kirsten Gillibrand||D||Guilty||Guilty|
|New York||Chuck Schumer||D||Guilty||Guilty|
|North Carolina||Richard Burr||R||Guilty||Not Guilty|
|North Carolina||Tom Tillis||R||Not Guilty||Not Guilty|
|North Dakota||Kevin Cramer||R||Not Guilty||Not Guilty|
|North Dakota||John Hoeven||R||Not Guilty||Not Guilty|
|Ohio||Rob Portman||R||Not Guilty||Not Guilty|
|Oklahoma||Jim Inhofe||R||Not Guilty||Not Guilty|
|Oklahoma||James Lankford||R||Not Guilty||Not Guilty|
|Pennsylvania||Pat Toomey||R||Not Guilty||Not Guilty|
|Rhode Island||Sheldon Whitehouse||D||Guilty||Guilty|
|Rhode Island||Jack Reed||D||Guilty||Guilty|
|South Carolina||Lindsay Graham||R||Guilty||Not Guilty|
|South Carolina||Tim Scott||R||Guilty||Not Guilty|
|South Dakota||Mike Rounds||R||Not Guilty||Not Guilty|
|South Dakota||John Thune||R||Not Guilty||Not Guilty|
|Tennessee||Lamar Alexander||R||Guilty||No Guilty|
|Tennessee||Phil Bredesen||D||Guilty||Not Guilty|
|Texas||Ted Cruz||R||Not Guilty||Not Guilty|
|Texas||John Cornyn||R||Not Guilty||Not Guilty|
|Utah||Mike Lee||R||Not Guilty||Not Guilty|
|West Virginia||Joe Manchin||D||Guilty||Not Guilty|
|West Virginia||Shelly M. Capito||R||Guilty||Not Guilty|
|Wisconsin||Ron Johnson||R||Not Guilty||Not Guilty|
|Wyoming||John Barasso||R||Not Guilty||Not Guilty|
|Wyoming||Mike Enzi||R||Not Guilty||Not Guilty|
|Total Votes:||Guilty: 67 ✓|
Not Guilty: 33
Not Guilty: 54 ✓
Trump's RemovalAs of June 28th, after the vote had concluded and Trump had been officially ruled guilty to Obstruction of Justice, he was removed from office. Vice-President Pence became acting-president until the official swearing in could take place. Trump's twitter had been strangely quiet that day, with most expecting a tirade of epic proportions, yet nothing. Reporters captured Trump, his wife Melania, and their son Barron leaving the White House hastily where they were driven to Andrews Air Force Base. Without speaking to reports, they boarded Air Force One. Trump waved to reports for the last time, and boarded Air Force One where they took off for New York City.
That night, on live television, Mike Pence was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States and addressed the nation. He called for unity in this time of division, and announced that he would be pardoning former President Trump of all crimes, as an act to move on and heal. This was seen as the same move Gerald Ford took after Richard Nixon resigned. Publicly, the pardon was not received well, with 56% of Americans disapproving of the charge.
After Trump's removal, public reaction was swift and fierce. That night, most famously during President Pence's speech to the nation, massive Antifa and other anti-Trump forces celebrated in the streets of Washington D.C., New York City, and Los Angeles.
During the first night, much of the protesters were left leaning activists to celebrate Trump's removal, and even some calls to remove Pence as well. The tide had begun to turn the next day, when populist, nationalist, white supremacists forces counter protested the pro-leftist activists where in many cases over the next year or two would turn violent.
- Main Article: The Great American Crisis
The night of Trump's removal, a call to rise up against the leftists had sprung up on multiple websites across the country; most of them being exclusively being white nationalist affiliated and most notably 4chan. The call had gained attention very fast, and a massive counter-protest was planned for June 30th in Baltimore, Maryland.
City officials got very short notice of this, and Maryland governor Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency and called in the National Guard to attempt to quell possible conflicts between sides. Yet, the national guard weren't able to organize a plan in a day and were effectively powerless for the event. Baltimore mayor, Catherine Pugh herself called a state of emergency for the city, while having to completely rely on the Baltimore Police Department for keeping the peace for the city.On the 30th, the day had started out peacefully with little over 2,500 leftist activists marching throughout Baltimore. Around 6:30pm EST the activists were met with counter-protests by alt-right and ultra-conservative activists as well. Police attempted to separate the groups, but it was no use. Antifa soon showed at the scene to give violent support of the leftist activists. At about 7:45pm, a right winged activist branded a semi-automatic rifle and threatened people around him. When people and police attempted to get the gun away, he fired into the surrounding crowd. All chaos broke lose, with police firing tear gas into the crowds, while also firing into the crowd in an attempt to kill the original shooter. The entire event was broadcasted internationally, and as it was happening President Pence's first decision was to declare a state of emergency in Maryland and the national guard were called in faster than Governor Hogan's first attempt.
As dawn broke on July 1st, the national guard had been able to dispersed the crowd. The final report had shown 28 people were killed (both leftist, right-winged and police) and over 320 people were injured. The original shooter had been killed in the ensuing riots, but his identity was kept secret by Baltimore Police. This massacre would be the start of a series of violent protests that would last over 2 years after Pence's swearing in between leftists and right-winged activists.
On June 29th, President Pence officially pardoned former President Trump on the charges of obstruction of justice. Yet on July 2nd, New York Attorney General Letitia James announced that she would be pursuing an investigation into tax fraud by Trump and other financial related crimes by the Trump Foundation.
On July 10th, James filled a lawsuit against the foundation for "unlawful conduct", named in the suit were Trump himself, Ivanka Trump, Eric Trump, and Donald Trump Jr. A previous suit had been filled by then New York AG Barbara Underwood but had basically dissolved because of the chaos around Trump's impeachment; this was seen as a newer version of it.
The civil suit came down in James' favor, and the foundation was found guilty on September 23rd. The foundation was forced to pay $3.2 million in restitution, and was dissolved. Still, Governor Cuomo's counsel office gave the Attorney General's office a referral to the state's Division of Taxation and Finance.
Trump and his sons were all criminally charged with tax evasion on October 14th. The prosecution used evidence from the former foundation and Trump himself touting not paying taxes. The verdict came down on December 10th, where Trump and his sons were found guilty of tax evasion. All three were sentenced to 5 years in prison, and each had to pay a fine of $500,000 dollars to the State of New York.
While imprisoned, the IRS and the Federal Election Commission would begin investigations into Trump. The FEC would fine that Trump violated FEC guidelines by Trump illegally using foundation money to fund his campaign, he would be fined $1.8 million dollars and wouldn't face jail time for the violation. The IRS concluded that Trump illegally used funds from the Foundation to clear debts, and other financial violations that would charge Trump and extra $1.1 million, along with no jail time.
Trump would be the first president in American history to serve jail time, and would go on to serve all 5 years of the sentence and pay all fines.