WORLD Trump impeached for historic second time after Capitol siege
The US House of Representatives on Wednesday voted to impeach Donald Trump for inciting last week’s deadly Capitol siege, making him the first president in history to be impeached twice.
The outcome, which was expected, comes only seven days before Trump leaves office and Democratic President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated.
In a 232-197 bipartisan vote, 10 House Republicans joined Democrats in supporting impeachment.
The Democrat-controlled House charged Trump with inciting an insurrection after a mob of his supporters, riled up by his false claims of election fraud, stormed Congress and temporarily halted a joint session to certify Biden’s victory.
The House impeachment will lead to a trial in the Senate. A two-thirds majority is needed to convict Trump in the upper chamber, which is still in Republican control for now. More than a dozen Republican senators would have to find him guilty, which none have indicated they would do.
An outcome appears highly unlikely before Biden is sworn in as president.
Although it could be too late to oust Trump, the Senate could also vote to bar him from running for office again, needing only a simple majority.
Trump was impeached in 2019 on allegations of abusing his position, but the Senate cleared him of charges last year.
The vote in the House came after lawmakers debated the charge for several hours in the same chamber that was evacuated a week ago as pro-Trump rioters swarmed the Capitol.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the “domestic terrorists” had been sent by the president’s words.
“He must go. He is a clear and present danger to the nation that we all love,” she said.
Republican lawmaker Jim Jordan argued that impeachment “doesn’t unite the country” and in no way “helps the nation deal with the tragic and terrible events of last week.”
Kevin McCarthy, the top Republican in the House, also argued that impeachment wouldn’t help, but noted that Trump bears responsibility for the violence that broke out last week.
“The president bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters,” McCarthy told a House debate on impeachment. “He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding.”
The impeachment came a day after Vice President Mike Pence rebuffed Democrats’ calls to use the Constitution’s 25th amendment to remove his boss from office.
Trump has remained defiant, taking no responsibility for his role in last week’s assault on Congress, which left five people dead. He said on Tuesday that his speech, which seemed designed to rile up supporters, was “totally appropriate.”
The impeachment article notes that Trump repeated false claims that he won the November election, while speaking at the rally moments before the rampage. He also egged on supporters to march to the Capitol.
As the impeachment vote loomed on Wednesday, Trump called on US citizens not to break the law or perpetrate violence in the days leading up to Biden’s inauguration.
“In light of reports of more demonstrations, I urge that there must be NO violence, NO lawbreaking and NO vandalism of any kind,” he wrote in a statement. “That is not what I stand for.”
Security at the Capitol has been massively ramped up amid fears of further violence surrounding Biden’s swearing-in.
Thousands of National Guard troops were on Wednesday protecting the building, with social media images showing some resting in its halls ahead of the impeachment debate.