The US House of Representatives has impeached Donald Trump for fomenting a deadly insurrection at the Capitol on 6 January 2021, making him the first president in the nation’s history to be impeached twice.
Every Democrat in the chamber voted for the lone impeachment article, which officially accuses the president of “incitement to insurrection.”
Ten of a total 211 House Republicans joined them. Wednesday’s ratified impeachment article now awaits transmission to a Senate controlled for the next couple weeks by Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
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The ratification came after a day of speeches from lawmakers recounting the harrowing experiences they faced as the pro-Trump rioters ransacked the legislature a week ago.
“Last week, I hid in an office for hours, terrified to open the door because I did not know if a rioter was on the other side ready to attack, kidnap, or murder me,” said Congresswoman Judy Chu. “Donald Trump must be held accountable.”
Mr McConnell, who will be relegated to minority leader later this month, has not publicly stated whether he will vote to convict Mr Trump at the outgoing president’s impending Senate trial, although he has privately told confidants he supported the House’s impeachment, the New York Times has reported.
Mr Trump has just seven days remaining at the White House before President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated on 20 January.
He will not be removed in that time. Trials in the past have taken weeks, and Mr McConnell informed Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer on Wednesday that he will not agree to a proposal to reconvene the chamber for an emergency session next week to commence this one.
The Senate is scheduled to return on 19 January. The chamber’s impeachment process will begin at its “first regular meeting following receipt of the article from the House,” Mr McConnell said in a statement on Wednesday.
“I believe it will best serve our nation if Congress and the executive branch spend the next seven days completely focused on facilitating a safe inauguration and an orderly transfer of power to the incoming Biden Administration,” Mr McConnell said.
Regardless of the timing, the utter uncertainty on where many within the Senate GOP stand on conviction combined with Mr McConnell’s decision not to whip their votes means Mr Trump’s impeachment trial promises to be one of the most dramatic, uncertain, and momentous congressional votes in US history.
Democrats will need at least 17 Republicans to join them to banish Mr Trump from public office for good.
As she opened the debate on Wednesday’s impeachment resolution, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi described last week’s deadly riot as a “day of fire” and called for the president’s conviction.
“He must go. He’s a clear and present danger to the nation we all love,” she said, staking her position that the rioters were “sent [to the Capitol] by the president” to mount an “armed rebellion.”Photo Credit: Getty