6:00: Morning News

US House impeaches Trump; West Virginia lawmakers oppose charges

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday approved two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, making him the third president to be impeached.

In two votes along party lines, the House charged Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The charges follow the investigation into a July phone call between Trump and Ukraine’s president.

West Virginia’s House members — David McKinley, Alex Mooney and Carol Miller — voted with their Republican colleagues in opposition to the resolutions.

The House’s impeachment investigation started in September over President Donald Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. Trump asked for Ukraine to investigate his political opponents, including former Vice President Joe Biden.

The Trump administration, at this time, also delayed $391 million in military aid, which was released after congressional intervention.

House Democrats also accuse Trump of preventing officials from testifying and blocking documents during the investigation.

Miller — who spoke on the House floor during debate before the vote — called Wednesday “a disappointing day.”

“It is a day my colleagues across the aisle cast the vote that they have spent the last three years obsessing over: the vote to impeach our duly elected president,” she said. “There are two charges claimed by House Democrats, and there is zero cause for either.”

Mooney called the impeachment process “a shameful partisan exercise in the U.S. House from start to finish.”

“President Trump did nothing wrong and these Articles of Impeachment are totally meritless. The American people and folks across West Virginia have been able to witness this unfair and unjust process,” he said in a statement. “Despite a rigged investigation and process, Democrats still could not find any real evidence of an actual crime.”

Mooney has been the most vocal of West Virginia’s three House members regarding impeachment; he and two dozen other Republican legislators stormed a closed-door hearing in October, delaying the deposition of a Pentagon official by five hours.

Mooney could not take part in the hearing, which was open only to members of the House’s Oversight and Reform, Foreign Affairs, and Intelligence committees. Miller, who stood alongside her Republican colleagues during the action, serves on the House Oversight and Reform Committee.

Mooney also issued a statement last week attacking the House Judiciary Committee for approving the articles of impeachment, calling the vote “one of the most shameful moments in our nation’s history.”

Mooney and Miller, through their spokespersons, declined requests for interviews on Wednesday.

McKinley has cited the Federalist Papers in numerous statements on the impeachment proceedings; he specifically has mentioned Alexander Hamilton’s remarks about the benefits of a congressional impeachment process and the threat of partisanship.

“Today, the House of Representatives has made our Founding Fathers’ fear a reality, and for the first time in our nation’s history, impeached a president on purely partisan lines,” McKinley said in a statement. “This vote sets a precedent that impeachment is no longer based on evidence, but instead who holds the majority in the House.”

The Senate trial is expected to begin in January. Sixty-seven senators would have to vote for removing Trump from office for it to happen.

McKinley mentioned the Senate — controlled by Republicans — will likely acquit Trump. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said following Wednesday’s votes she may hold the articles of impeachment until assured the trial would be fair.

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., issued a statement Wednesday criticizing the House’s votes.

“It has been made clear throughout this rushed and unfair process that this is nothing but political theater, and it sets a terrible precedent. Our Founders intended for impeachment to be used as the last straw, the last measure to remove a president from office. Today, impeachment is being weaponized as a political instrument, and that is unfortunate,” she said.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., told MetroNews earlier this month he is waiting for more information before deciding if Trump should be removed from office.

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