Trump Impeachment Takes Record for Largest Number of House Votes in American History

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump became only the third president in U.S. history to be impeached by the House of Representatives, joining former presidents Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton on the ignominious list.

But Trump also made history with the number of votes cast against him, with the two impeachment articles receiving both the largest and second largest backing in the history of American presidential impeachments.

The House voted to approve the first article—charging Trump with abuse of power—by 230 votes to 197, with one "present" vote. The second article—charging the president with obstruction of Congress—was approved by 229 votes to 198.

The voting went along party lines, with no Republican representatives joining their Democratic colleagues in censuring Trump. Only two Democrats—New Jersey's Jeff Van Drew and Minnesota's Collin Peterson—voted against the articles. Democratic Rep. Jared Golden voted yes to abuse of power but no to obstruction. Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard voted present on both.

The graphic below, provided by Statista, illustrates the House vote on Trump's impeachment.

House Representatives Donald Trump Impeachment Vote Statista
House of Representatives vote on President Donald Trump impeachment. Statista

Both votes were larger than for the impeachment articles brought against Clinton in 1998 and Johnson in 1868, though the House of Representatives was much smaller during the effort against Johnson.

The House approved two articles brought against Clinton. For the perjury charge, 228 representatives voted against the president, with 206 backing him. The second charge was obstruction of justice, which was approved by 221 lawmakers and opposed by 212.

In Johnson's case, the House voted to impeach the president for high crimes and misdemeanors by a 126 to 47 vote, with 17 members not voting.

He faced eleven articles of impeachment, including allegations that he was attempting "to bring into disgrace, ridicule, hatred, contempt and reproach" both Congress and the presidency. The Senate eventually voted on three of the articles.

Though the vote against Trump is the largest by total number, Johnson's impeachment remains the largest by the proportion of the House which voted for it.

Just over 66 percent of representatives voted against Johnson, compared to 52 percent for the articles against Trump.

Following Wednesday's House vote, Speaker Nancy Pelosi noted it was a "sad" occasion and silenced Democratic representatives who began applauding the result. "He gave us no choice," Pelosi said, adding it was "tragic" that Trump's actions necessitated such measures.

The vote took place while Trump was speaking at a re-election rally in Michigan, prompting the president to deliver a wide-ranging and at times rambling rebuke of his opponents.

Trump said the "do-nothing Democrats" were "declaring their deep hatred and disdain for the American voter." The impeachment process, he claimed, was a "political suicide march for the Democratic Party," adding, "I don't know about you, but I'm having a good time...I'm not worried."

Both Johnson and Clinton were acquitted in their Senate trials. The outcome for Trump is expected to be the same, and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already admitted he will not be "an impartial juror."

Pelosi refused Wednesday to commit to sending the articles of impeachment to the Senate, raising concerns that the subsequent trial will be legitimate. "So far we haven't seen anything that looks fair to us," she told reporters immediately after the vote, according to Politico.

McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer are currently wrangling over the format of Trump's trial, with Democrats keen to bring additional witnesses but Republicans seeking to ensure a quick acquittal.

Correction 12/19/19, 6:00 p.m.: This article has been corrected to reflect that Collin Peterson represents a district in Minnesota.

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi presides over a vote on the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on December 18, 2019. SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images/Getty