Neal Dunn

Neal Dunn

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump was impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday night.

But prior to the House’s vote Wednesday, Neal Dunn, the Republican representative from Florida’s Second District that includes Suwannee and Lafayette County condemned his Democrat colleagues for the impending vote.

“I am disappointed in a broken and partisan process that has consumed House Democrats,” Dunn said in remarks on the House floor, saying the investigation wasn’t transparent and bipartisan as promised.

Trump is the third president to be impeached, found guilty of the House on charges of abusing the power of the office as well as obstructing Congress during its investigation. The House approved both articles of impeachment in a split vote that fell mostly upon party lines. The House supported the article of impeachment accusing Trump of abusing his office by pressuring Ukraine’s government to investigate political rivals by a 230-197 vote with only two Democrats voting against.

The obstruction of Congress charge was supported by a 229-198 vote that included a third Democrat opposing the article of impeachment.

No Republicans voted in favor of either charge.

Al Lawson, the Democrat representative from Florida’s District 5 that includes Hamilton County, voted yes on both and said it was a necessary action.

“It is with no small measure of regret that Congress was forced to impeach the President of the United States," Lawson said in a statement. "His continued abuse of power compelled us to take action and hold him accountable. The Senate should approach this with the seriousness it deserves and consistent with their oath. We have faced difficult times in the past, and today is no different. While this is a somber moment in our nation's history, I am hopeful that all of us — Democrats and Republicans — can begin to heal the divide across our country."

Now the articles of impeachment go to the Senate for trial, which is expected to take place in January.

“This shameful vote to impeach our president will be a lasting stain on our House,” Dunn said, adding Congress should have been focused more on issues such as prescription drug prices. “We’ve wasted almost a year on this process, while House Democrats chose political theater over serving the American people.”

Prior to Trump, only Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998 were previously impeached. Both were acquitted by the Senate, Johnson by just one vote. In 1974, Richard Nixon faced an inquiry, but resigned before he could be impeached.

Jamie Wachter is the editor of the Suwannee Democrat, Jasper News and Mayo Free Press.

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