In December of 2019, the House of Representatives voted to impeach Donald Trump for abusing his power and obstructing Congress, making him the third president to be impeached in American history. Although he was ultimately acquitted by the Republican-controlled Senate in February 2020 — after a sham trial where no witnesses were called and no evidence was subpoenaed — Trump’s presidency is permanently marred by the overwhelming evidence of his criminal wrongdoing that was uncovered during the impeachment process.
The Stand Up America community fueled the impeachment fight every step of the way with:
+310,000 Calls to Congress
+2,300 Letters to the Editor
+13,400 Tweets and emails to lawmakers
+25,000 Protest sign-ups
Read the full recap of how we arrived at Trump’s acquittal in a rigged Senate trial, and where we go from here.
Launching the Impeachment Campaign
Stand Up America launched our campaign calling for a formal impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump in May 2019 in response to the redacted report by special counsel Robert Mueller. The report made it clear that Trump was not exonerated by Mueller’s investigation, and indicated that Congress must pick up where he left off by initiating impeachment hearings.
At the time, the majority of lawmakers in Congress did not support an impeachment inquiry. Fewer than 40 lawmakers in the House of Representatives — where an inquiry into Donald Trump would begin — supported opening a formal impeachment inquiry.
Throughout the summer, congressional and public support for an impeachment inquiry steadily grew, as Stand Up America community members made nearly 100,000 calls to their House representatives. By August 2019, 116 Democratic representatives in the House were in favor of opening a formal impeachment inquiry.
To keep up momentum during the August recess, Stand Up America and our partners launched Impeachment August, a campaign to get progressives across the country to attend town halls and visit lawmakers’ local offices to urge them to support an impeachment inquiry. We saw a groundswell of action, resulting in nearly 20 additional lawmakers announcing their support for an impeachment inquiry during a month when little progress was expected.
House Leadership Announces Formal Impeachment Inquiry
In September 2019, a bombshell report hit the news. The American people learned that Trump solicited foreign interference in the 2020 election, using his public office for personal and political gain. A whistleblower complaint and a phone call transcript offered irrefutable evidence that Trump pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate one of his potential opponents in the upcoming 2020 election.
In response to these new revelations, public outcry, and pressure from our community, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi endorsed impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump. Our community played a pivotal role in putting pressure on Nancy Pelosi on social media and driving thousands more calls to Pelosi and other members of the House.
The number of lawmakers in favor of an impeachment proceeding skyrocketed after Pelosi’s announcement, reaching 212 House Democrats.
Public Impeachment Hearings in the House of Representatives
The first phase of the impeachment process started in November. The House of Representatives called more than a dozen witnesses who corroborated the evidence that Trump committed impeachable crimes and solicited a bribe from Ukraine.
In order to be impeached, the Constitution stipulates the president must be guilty of “high crimes and misdemeanors.” These witnesses — which included career civil servants such as National Security Council Official Fiona Hill, former Ambassador to Ukraine Maria Yovanovich, and others who dedicated their careers to serving their country — confirmed that Trump broke the law.
The information gathered during the House Intelligence Committee’s public hearings laid the foundation for the House Judiciary Committee’s articles of impeachment that charged Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. When it came to the final vote, 229 Democrats voted to impeach Trump for abuse of power, and 228 voted to impeach him on the grounds of obstruction of Congress.
The Senate Impeachment Trial
In January 2020, the House of Representatives transmitted the articles of impeachment to the Republican-controlled Senate, triggering a Senate impeachment trial to hear the charges brought against Trump. In the trial, Senators acted as jurors, with Chief Supreme Court Justice John Roberts presiding.
However, the trial was not a free and fair process. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell used his power to dictate trial procedure, rigging the trial process in Trump’s favor in full coordination with the White House. The Stand Up America community drove over a hundred thousand calls to target senators, urging them to stand in favor of a free and fair trial. Ultimately, the Senate voted against calling any witnesses or requesting any relevant documents, the first impeachment trial in U.S. history to do so.
Despite the overwhelming evidence of Trump’s impeachable crimes, the Senate voted to acquit him on February 5, 2020.
The impeachment process made one thing crystal clear: Trump abused his power and attempted to cover it up. He thinks he’s above the law and will resist any check on his corrupt agenda. He is and will continue to be a threat to our democracy.
The Senate failed to remove Trump, so it’s going to be up to us to remove him this November — and hold Republican senators accountable for failing to protect our democracy.