For the third time in America’s history – the House of Representatives has voted to impeach a president.

Donald Trump will not be removed from office but that should not detract from the gravity of this moment and what it means for the future.

The Democrats now hand over the charges – abuse of power and obstruction of Congress – to the Republican controlled Senate.

Compared to the House – this is friendly territory where the president could mount the defence that he’s so far refused.

US Vice President Mike Pence and US President Donald Trump attend a meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House December 16, 2019, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
Image: Vice President Mike Pence and President Donald Trump at a meeting in the White House cabinet room

Donald Trump insists he’s done nothing wrong – yet he is not to allowing key White House players to testify in the Senate trial.

What’s the point when Mitch McConnell, the Republican Senate majority leader says there is “no chance” the upper chamber will vote to convict. Republicans want to keep it short – and move on as quickly as possible from the impeachment of their president.

Donald Trump has been impeached but will ultimately be acquitted. We still don’t know what the political fallout will be.

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In this polarised new normal of Mr Trump’s own creation – impeachment could even do him a favour.

His entire 2016 campaign was based on the notion of him versus the establishment. This process serves as the ultimate example of what Trump and his supporters characterise as the Democrat’s ongoing quest to bring him down.

They failed with the Russia investigation and guess what – they failed again with impeachment – which could end up being his heroic blood-stained shirt heading into 2020. They keep trying – he keeps fighting and crucially – winning.

Mr Trump has successfully created his own narrative around impeachment: he’s been open about asking Ukraine to investigate his political rival, Joe Biden – even publicly calling on China to do the same – but he denies any quid pro quo.

So Mr Trump’s message – Mr Biden is corrupt but protected by the establishment – in seeking the truth about Mr Biden’s corruption the establishment is once again trying to bring him down.

'Reckless actions make impeachment necessary'
‘Reckless actions make impeachment necessary’

He’s taken on the mantra of his old buddy Roger Stone – “Deny, deny deny” and it has been effective.

Republicans have been in lockstep with their president offering wild conspiracy theories as defences. I’ve often heard spurious arguments like Mr Trump just wanted to end corruption in Ukraine – parroted by his supporters.

President Donald Trump could become the third president to be impeached
Image: President Donald Trump becomes the third president to be impeached

But Mr Trump’s base is not all of America. He will carry the word impeachment with him forever. There is no glory in it – it’s a mark of failure – a stain on his record that no president would ever wish to bear. But we know this much – Donald Trump is unlike any other president.

He has weathered scandal and controversies that would have sunk any other politician. By polling day in November 2020 – there is every chance he will have simply shaken it off.

But for the Democrats this isn’t just about the next couple of years. It’s about setting precedent and preventing any future leader from pressuring a foreign government to interfere in a US election for their own personal political gain.

They see it as a solemn moment of huge gravity which is about upholding the constitution. This is ultimately a tale of two impeachments – with each side convinced they are on the right side of history.