Donald Trump on Wednesday became the first president in US history to be impeached twice because of Capitol Riot. Ten of his fellow Republicans joined Democrats in the House of Representatives to charge him. He was charged with inciting an insurrection in last week’s violent rampage in the Capitol.
The vote in the Democratic-controlled House was 232-197 following the deadly assault on American democracy. Although it appeared unlikely the swift impeachment would lead to Trump’s ouster before his four-year term ends. Democratic President-elect Joe Biden will take charge on January 20.
The Senate’s Republican majority leader, Mitch McConnell, rejected Democratic calls for a quick impeachment trial. McConnell said there was no way to conclude it before Trump leaves office. But a Senate conviction of Trump could lead to a vote on banning him from running for office again.
Biden said it was important that a Senate impeachment in the early days of his term not delay work on his legislative priorities.
The House passed a single article of impeachment – a formal charge – accusing Trump of “incitement of insurrection.” It focused on a speech he delivered a week earlier to supporters before the pro-Trump mob rampaged through the Capitol.
The mob disrupted the formal certification of Biden’s victory over Trump in the November 3 election, sent lawmakers into hiding, and left five people dead, including a police officer.
During his speech, Trump said the election was fraudulent. He exhorted supporters to march on the Capitol. Trump told them to “stop the steal,” “show strength,” “fight much harder” and use “very different rules.”
US Capitol Riot & Trump
In a video statement released after the House’s action on Wednesday, Trump did not mention the impeachment vote. He took no responsibility for his remarks to supporters last week but condemned the violence.
“Mob violence goes against everything I believe in and everything our movement stands for. No true supporter of mine could ever endorse political violence. No true supporter of mine could ever disrespect law and order,” Trump said.
With thousands of rifle-carrying National Guard troops inside and outside the Capitol, an emotional debate unfolded in the same House chamber where lawmakers had ducked under chairs and donned gas masks on Jan. 6 as rioters clashed with police officers outside the doors.
“The president of the United States incited this insurrection, this armed rebellion against our common country,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, said on the House floor before the vote. “He must go. He is a clear and present danger to the nation that we all love.”
No US president has ever been removed from office through impeachment. Three – Trump in 2019, Bill Clinton in 1998, and Andrew Johnson in 1868 – previously were impeached by the House but acquitted by the Senate.
Democratic congressman Joaquin Castro called Trump “the most dangerous man to ever occupy the Oval Office.” Congresswoman Maxine Waters accused Trump of wanting civil war and fellow Democrat Jim McGovern said the president “instigated an attempted coup.” Trump was impeached earlier at the start of 2020.
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