The impeachment of U.S. President Donald Trump in the U.S. House of Representatives on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress sets the stage for a historic trial next month in the Republican-controlled Senate on whether he should be removed from office.
The mostly party-line votes on Wednesday in the Democratic-led House came after long hours of bitter debate that reflected the partisan tensions in a divided America, and made Trump the third U.S. president to be impeached. Trump has railed against the vote calling it a "hoax" and insisting the Democrat's do not have cause to impeach him.
Trump's criticism stands in direct contradiction to a 2008 video showing Trump praising House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in conversation with CNN's Wolf Blitzer. "I think she's a very impressive person. I like her a lot," Trump said.
Trump goes on to argue that she should have moved to impeach former President George W. Bush because he said "all sorts of things that turned out not to be true" about the war in Iraq. The clip quickly went viral after Blitzer shared it on social media - especially given the heated rhetoric of Trump and his recent personal attacks on Pelosi.
Republicans argued that Democrats were using a rigged process to nullify the 2016 election and influence Trump's 2020 re-election campaign, while Democrats said Trump's actions in pressuring Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden, a leading Democratic presidential contender, were a threat to democracy.
Trascript of the clip:
TRUMP: "Well, you know, when she first got in and was named speaker, I met her — and I'm very impressed by her. I think she's a very impressive person. I like her a lot. But I was surprised that she didn't do more in terms of Bush and going after Bush. It was almost — it just seemed like she was going to really look to impeach Bush and get him out of office, which personally I think would have been a wonderful thing."
- Trump, Israel and the Middle East: Mayhem, betrayal and 'America First'
- Putin says impeachment case against Trump is 'fabricated'
- Can U.S. Jews be protected by Trump, a president who spouts contempt for Jews?
BLITZER: "Impeaching him?"
TRUMP: "Absolutely. For the war, for the war. Well, he lied! He got us into the war with lies. And, I mean, look at the trouble Bill Clinton got into with something that was totally unimportant, and they tried to impeach him — which was nonsense. And yet, Bush got us into this horrible war with lies — by lying. By saying they had weapons of mass destruction. By saying all sorts of things that turned out not to be true."