On December 18th, Donald J. Trump was impeached by the United States House of Representatives and presented two articles of impeachment: one charge of abuse of power and the other charge being obstruction of congress. As one could guess, the House voted along party lines. The vote was 230 to 199, with only two Democrats voting against the articles of impeachment, and one voting against one article. A single Republican voted to impeach this president and Tusli Gabbard of Hawaii (who notably is running to be the Democratic nominee for president in 2020) voted "present", allowing her to abstain from voting yes or no.
In so many words, Trump is being impeached because he attempted to use foreign aid relegated by Congress, as a bribe for the Ukranian President to help him undermine former Vice President Joe Biden's chances at running against Trump in 2020. If this sounds confusing and overtly criminal- it's because it is. There isn't a blueprint for impeachment, because only two times this process has occurred in American history. However, most people can grasp the concept of politicians having under-the-table deals to share incriminating information against opponents is wrong. It is also helpful to note that when running for public office in the US it is illegal to solicit anything of value from a foreign country, and incriminating information on Joe Biden (no matter your thoughts on him and his record) is valuable and thus illegal.
It is important to understand that impeachment does not mean removal from office. It is helpful to think of articles of impeachment as a sort of arrest record. It does not mean jail time but is a mark on one's record. For some historical context, President Richard Nixon resigned before articles of impeachment, and President Bill Clinton was impeached by the House (like Trump, but on different charges) and eventually acquitted in the Senate, meaning he got to stay in office. Many rightfully assume the same will happen for Trump. Because of the Republican majority in the Senate, and Senator Mitch McConnell's clear indication of indifference to Trump's behaviour, it looks as though Trump will be able to stay in office. This does not take away from how historic this moment is though. Trump is the third President in the history of the United States to be impeached.
This impeachment can remind us of the last time the Democratic Party tried on impeachment: Nixon's. Both Republicans, Nixon and Trump's policies have affected the life and liberty of people of colour in the United States around the world. The Vietnam war that claimed hundreds of thousands of innocent lives, the "War on Crime/Drugs" that spurred mass incarceration both occurred at the height of Nixon's career and under his administration's policy discretion. Parallel to Trump, issues facing migrants, refugees, Syrians and Kashmiris have been exasperated because of the blunt racism and white-supremacist inspired policies. It was not Nixon's racism or foreign policy failures that got him almost impeached, as the articles against him were not about these issues, and it was not Trump's Muslim Ban, roll-back on LGBTQ+ rights, or infants and small kids incarcerated in cages on the U.S./Mexico border that got him impeached either. Remember, impeachment is not about whether or not a President commits a crime, because Presidents are not like you or me. There are no fines, or speeding tickets, or anything in the civil code that really applies to them. Impeachment is a special tool for a special individual and ultimately is about holding accountable one of the most powerful people in the world. By impeaching Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of justice, Nancy Pelosi and most democrats are saying that all of Trump's frightening foreign policy choices, racism, misogyny, and violence against Black and Brown people domestically and abroad was not enough to impeach him. Ultimately it is his poor behaviour, fascination with his political rivals, and inability to resist corruption that brought him to this point. This process is valid, yes, and has its merits. Stating the fact that Democrats could have gone further in holding Trump accountable does not undermine that point.
In terms of what happens next, we wait to see when Nancy Pelosi and the rest of the House leadership will send the articles of impeachment to the Senate for President Trump's trial. Senate Republicans have made clear they are on the President's side and will not vote to remove him from office. Never say never though, as Nixon's resignation and Rep. Justin Amash's resignation from the Republican Party in October, respectfully, have shown us that anything is politically possible. Also, the 2020 Democratic nomination contest continues, and we will learn who will go up against Trump at the ballot box next year. For the time being, Trump finally had to face a consequence for one of his many wretched actions, and I suppose, the moral arc of history bends towards justice, even if only for a brief moment.