The House of Representatives has delivered the articles of impeachment against Donald Trump to the Senate, after nearly a month of delay.
The move means the impeachment saga now enters a new phase, in which the Republican-controlled Senate will consider the charges made against the president, and whether to make him the first in US history to be removed from office by congress.
House speaker Nancy Pelosi signed the articles at a ceremony in Washington DC on Wednesday, in which she named the team of impeachment managers who would argue the case in the Senate in coming weeks. Those managers, whose identities were previously kept secret, will be led by Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff and Judiciary Committee chairman Jerry Nadler.
Download the new Independent Premium app
Sharing the full story, not just the headlines
“Today we will make history,” Ms Pelosi said. “When they bring this over, it will set in motion a process on the Senate side … They will take a special oath of office and do impartial justice according to the constitution and the laws. Let’s hope that they uphold that oath that they take tomorrow.”
Those managers, after Ms Pelosi’s signature, then walked the articles across the Capitol Rotunda in a procession to the Senate, where majority leader Mitch McConnell received the documents.
And then, upon receipt, the Senate will formally read both charges, which accuse Mr Trump of abuse of power and obstruction of congress stemming from his alleged attempts to coerce the president of Ukraine to launch an investigation into political rival Joe Biden, using US military funding as leverage.
The delivery of the articles puts to an end nearly a month of jostling between Ms Pelosi and Mr McConnell, with the Democrat in the House attempting to use withholding the documents to compel the Republican to allow for senators to call forth further witnesses beyond those interviewed by the House.
Mr McConnell, for his part, stayed largely defiant of those calls, even as pressure appeared to mount, even as he faced condemnation for announcing he would not act as an impartial juror in the trial once it comes to the Senate.
Among the most notable developments to arise during the past month was the announcement by former White House national security adviser John Bolton that he would testify before the Senate if subpoenaed, which led many in Washington to wonder what such a prominent member of the administration might be able to illuminate should he be called.
Among those who seemed curious about Mr Bolton’s testimony were several prominent Republicans in the Senate who could, if they determine to, band together with Democrats to bring about the former White House advisor’s testimony.
It is unclear how many, if any, further witnesses may actually be called in to testify. On the Republican side, senators have called for subpoenas against Mr Biden’s son Hunter, who they have suggested inappropriately secured a job on a Ukrainian energy company’s board during his father’s tenure as vice president.
Mr Trump, for his part, has claimed without evidence that the impeachment efforts against him are a continuation of a conspiracy to ruin his presidency, and a result of Democrats being unable to accept the results of the 2016 election.