House votes to send impeachment articles to Senate

House Democrats voted Wednesday to send a pair of articles of impeachment to the Senate, a move that launches a trial in the upper chamber and ends the weeks-long wait for phase two in the Democrats' effort to remove President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump signs bill averting shutdown after brief funding lapse Privacy, civil rights groups demand transparency from Amazon on election data breaches Facebook takes down Trump campaign ads tying refugees to coronavirus MORE from office.

The vote, scheduled by Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTrump signs bill averting shutdown after brief funding lapse On The Money: 'One more serious try' on COVID relief yields progress but no deal | Trump tax bombshell shines light on IRS enforcement | Senate passes bill to avert shutdown hours before deadline 'One more serious try' on COVID-19 relief yields progress but no deal MORE (D-Calif.) after a month of speculation over timing, cut virtually across party lines, with 227 Democrats supporting the resolution and 192 Republicans opposing it. 

The final vote tally, however, was 228-193 with Rep. Collin PetersonCollin Clark PetersonKate Schroder in Ohio among Democratic challengers squelching GOP hopes for the House The Hill's Campaign Report: 19 years since 9/11 | Dem rival to Marjorie Taylor Greene drops out | Collin Peterson faces fight of his career | Court delivers blow to ex-felon voting rights in Florida Peterson faces fight of his career in deep-red Minnesota district MORE (D-Minn.), who voted against the impeachment articles, being the only Democrat to buck the party line and vote against the resolution. Rep. Justin AmashJustin AmashThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by JobsOhio - Trump's tax return bombshell Ron Paul hospitalized in Texas Internal Democratic poll shows tight race in contest to replace Amash MORE (I-Mich.), who switched from Republican to Independent last year, voted in favor of the resolution.

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Aside from transmitting the articles, the resolution also provides funding for the impeachment process and officially appoints the seven Democrats who will serve as impeachment managers, whom Pelosi named shortly before Wednesday’s vote. 

These members will act essentially as prosecutors, making their case before the GOP-controlled Senate that Trump should be removed from office. The articles focus on two separate charges — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — related to Trump’s pressure campaign on Ukrainian leaders to find dirt on his domestic political rivals.

Democrats voted largely along party lines to impeach Trump on these two impeachment articles on Dec. 18.

Shortly after that historic vote — which made Trump just the third U.S. president to be impeached — Pelosi chose to withhold the articles from the upper chamber as leverage to pressure Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP senators pan debate: 'S---show,' 'awful,' 'embarrassment' 'One more serious try' on COVID-19 relief yields progress but no deal The Hill's Campaign Report: Debate fallout l Trump clarifies remarks on Proud Boys l Down to the wire in South Carolina MORE (R-Ky.) to allow witnesses and other new evidence to be considered as part of the trial.

The move triggered a clash of the political titans, with both leaders using the undefined constitutional rules of impeachment to their strategic advantage.

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A break in the stalemate came when Pelosi, facing pressure from both parties in the Senate, chose to transmit the articles even as McConnell indicated he had the Republican votes to adopt a set of trial rules that excluded guaranteed votes on potential witnesses, as Democrats have demanded. 

In a separate controversial move, McConnell had also endorsed a GOP resolution that would change the Senate rules to allow a vote dismissing the articles without a trial — if Pelosi did not turn them over to the upper chamber by a specified date.

McConnell has indicated he does not want to call in witnesses and would rather focus on a speedy trial that is widely expected to acquit the president in the GOP-controlled Senate, where a two-thirds majority is required to remove a sitting president. The Republican leader has said he’s simply adopting the Clinton impeachment model, where senators vote first on a resolution to start the trial and then later on requests to bring in potential witnesses.

Democrats believe McConnell will bury the second resolution by arguing the trial has already gone on too long.

Still, Pelosi’s political gamble helped Democrats reap some fire power. 

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John BoltonJohn BoltonJudge appears skeptical of Bolton's defense of publishing book without White House approval Maximum pressure is keeping US troops in Iraq and Syria Woodward book trails Bolton, Mary Trump in first-week sales MORE announced last week that he would be willing to testify publicly if the Senate subpoenaed him, sparking a wave of Democrats — and even a few Republicans — saying they want to hear the former national security adviser speak.

And on Tuesday, Democrats on the Intelligence panel released new information on Lev Parnas, a close associate of Trump's personal lawyer Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiBiden, Trump clash at vicious, ugly debate Voters split on whether Trump, Biden will win first debate: poll The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by JobsOhio - Trump's tax return bombshell MORE. The documents include text messages, notes and other communications he had with Giuliani and other Trump officials, which further highlighted efforts to push out former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie YovanovitchMarie YovanovitchGrand jury adds additional counts against Giuliani associates Lev Parnas and and Igor Fruman Strzok: Trump behaving like an authoritarian Powell backs Biden at convention as Democrats rip Trump on security MORE and dig up dirt on former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenPrivacy, civil rights groups demand transparency from Amazon on election data breaches Facebook takes down Trump campaign ads tying refugees to coronavirus Trump crowd chants 'lock her up' about Omar as president warns of refugees in Minnesota MORE and his son. 

Senate Democrats need at least four Republicans to vote in favor of witnesses. So far, only three have emerged to express any interest in that strategy.