Grim Outlook: Trump impeachment heads to Senate
Donald Trump has made light of the successful bid to impeach him at a public rally.
Addressing a cheering crowd of his supporters in Michigan as the House of Representatives voted to put him on trial in Washington, the US leader said it "doesn't really feel like we're being impeached".
"The country is doing better than ever before," he said to thunderous applause.
"We did nothing wrong and we have tremendous support in the Republican Party, like we've never had before."
The President went on to accuse the Democrats of "cheapening the impeachment process", saying it's "exactly what our Founding Fathers didn't want".
"But I know one thing," he added. "Americans will show up by the tens of millions next year to vote Pelosi the hell out of office."
The first article of impeachment against Mr Trump - for abuse of power - passed at 8.23pm eastern time (12.23pm AEST) with the 216 votes needed to push it through.
The second article - for obstruction of Congress - passed at 8.51pm eastern time (12.51pm AEST).
The global response was instantaneous, with politicians, celebrities and members of the Trump family weighing in on the final decision:
The House of Representatives rightly carried out its constitutional responsibility by voting to impeach Donald Trump, the most corrupt president in our history. No one, including the president, is above the law.— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) December 19, 2019
Donald Trump has abused our diplomatic relationships and undermined our national security for his own personal, political gain. By voting to impeach him, the House has taken an important step to hold him accountable. I'm ready to fulfill my constitutional duty in the Senate.— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) December 19, 2019
President Trump abused his power, violated his oath of office, and betrayed our nation. This is a solemn moment for our country. But in the United States of America, no one is above the law — not even the President.— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) December 19, 2019
Donald Trump has been impeached.— Zach Kornfeld (@korndiddy) December 19, 2019
Lots of work still ahead, but if you'll excuse me I'm now going to run down my block naked screaming for joy.
I expected this moment but I expected to be more joyful. Maybe jump up & do a happy dance. Maybe.— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) December 19, 2019
But I’m just sad and heartbroken. What he’s left behind can’t be erased with this vote.
The bigotry and xenophobia he’s emboldened. The lies.
It will take generations to recover.
All they’ve done is piss off Trump supporters and converted new ones. Good luck in 2020. You’ve poked the bear. We vote. #Trump2020— Tomi Lahren (@TomiLahren) December 19, 2019
Impeachment is an extraordinary check on presidential power spelled out in the US Constitution enabling Congress to remove presidents who commit "high crimes and misdemeanours".
However, the Democrats' push to remove the President from office is unlikely to succeed because the matter now goes to the Senate, where the Republican party is in majority.
Tens of thousands of Americans marched in support of impeachment last night, from a demonstration through a rainy Times Square in New York City to handfuls of activists standing vigil in small towns across the country.
They carried signs which read "Save the Constitution - Impeach!!!!" and "Criminal-in-Chief".
"I really believe that the constitution is under assault," one protester's sign read.
Glenn Conway, of Holly Springs, North Carolina, attended his first political rally in 30 years.
"I think we have a president at this point who believes he's above the law," the 62-year-old said.
Mr Trump, who is the third US president to be impeached, slammed today's proceedings on Twitter, calling them "atrocious lies by the radical left".
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi opened the debate by declaring that Mr Trump had left the Democrats "no choice" but to proceed with impeachment.
"If we do not act now, we would be derelict in our duty," Ms Pelosi said. "It is tragic that the President's reckless actions make impeachment necessary."