WASHINGTON.— The House of Representatives on Thursday approved, on partisan lines, a historic resolution that opens the door to a possible political trial against President Donald Trump for abuse of power for his own benefit, amid Republican protests over the alleged "Farce" of the process.
With a vote of 232-196, the lower house approved the resolution “H. Res 660 ”that formalizes and codifies the investigation and kicks off public hearings, to determine if there are enough elements to initiate a political trial to dismiss Trump.RELATED
EN VIVO: La Cámara de Representantes somete a votación una resolución para formalizar el proceso de juicio político #impeachment al presidente Trump
Posted by Noticias Telemundo on Thursday, October 31, 2019
Flanked by the American flag, the president of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, gave a speech of almost 9 minutes on the Constitution and defended the preliminary investigation initiated 38 days ago by her bank against republican attacks that it has been a partisan process and "Rigged."
“I don't know why Republicans fear the truth. This vote is for the truth, and what is at stake is nothing other than the defense of our democracy, ”said Pelosi, who generated loud applause.
For his part, the leader of the Republican minority in the lower house, Kevin McCarthy, accused the Democrats of "abuse of power" and "approve more judicial subpoenas than laws."
Supported by applause from his bench, McCarthy also listed the list of issues that Congress has parked for a partisan investigation, including the new government budget, and the trade agreement with Mexico and Canada.
"We are not working for the American people … the Democrats are in a permanent campaign to undermine legitimacy (of Trump). They fear they can't beat him at the polls, ”McCarthy argued.
Before the vote on the resolution, the House rejected a measure that would have allowed Republicans to amend it.
This is the first similar vote in almost 21 years, after Congress passed the political trial against then President Bill Clinton, for lying about his extramarital relationship with the fellow, Monica Lewinsky.
The following steps
The resolution, passed in five minutes, kicks off for public hearings, after several weeks of private meetings in a maximum security room in the Capitol, in which Republican legislators have also participated.
The measure promises transparency in the process; authorizes the publication of testimonies under oath, and establishes the rules and procedures regarding the handling of evidence collected against Trump.
It also establishes the rights of the republican minority throughout the process.
If the Democrats decide to make formal charges against Trump, they would be expected to be presented by the end of the year, according to legislative sources.
In explaining the scope of the investigation, the Democratic legislator, Hakeem Jeffries, made it clear that the parties "do not work" for any president and that the founders of the country created the process of political trial because they did not want "dictators or monarchs."
"No one is above the law," Jeffries said.
Latin voices in the debate
Most Latino lawmakers, grouped in the Hispanic Caucus of Congress (CHC), also voted in favor of the resolution against Trump.
"We are here because of the president, his actions, and how he has risked our national security for his own political gain," said New Mexico Democratic Legislator Ben Ray Luján.
For its part, the Democratic legislator for California, Norma Torres, said that the political trial is a serious matter and when Trump puts national security at risk, "he leaves us no other option."
Trump "pressured a foreign government to interfere in our election and investigate his political rival," and tried to take possible political advantage of that country, which he suggested a meeting at the White House and conditioned financial aid, he argued.
Torres showed a black and white photo of Trump, with a lapidary phrase of his call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, on July 25: "But do us a favor."
That call was the trigger for the ongoing investigation that, according to the Democrats, demonstrates Trump's pressures for Ukraine to investigate his rival in the 2020 contest, former vice president, Joe Biden.
Discords about the process
Before the vote, one by one, the Republicans rejected the resolution and the whole process, which they described as a “farce”, a “partisan” exercise, “secret” and lacking due process, and a “distraction” from the issues pressing country.
The Republican legislator for Wyoming, Liz Cheney, warned that, in the face of the general elections of 2020, voters will bill the Democrats for "a partisan political process" and for diverting attention and resources from unfinished tasks in Congress .
But the Massachusetts Democratic lawmaker and Chairman of the Rules Committee, Jim McGovern, replied that the White House has refused to provide documents and testimonies and has blocked every effort to get to the bottom of the truth about the scandal around Ukraine.