US House of Reps Impeached Trump for a Historic Second Time
The United States House of Representatives on Wednesday impeached President Trump for inciting a violent insurrection against the United States government, as 10 members of the president’s party joined Democrats to charge him with high crimes and misdemeanors for an unprecedented second time.
Reconvening under the threat of continued violence and the protection of thousands of National Guard troops, the House was determined to hold Trump to account just one week before he was to leave office.
At issue was his role in encouraging a mob that attacked the Capitol one week ago while Congress met to affirm President-elect Joseph Biden’s victory, forcing lawmakers to flee for their lives in a deadly rampage.
The House adopted a single article of impeachment, voting 232 to 197 to charge Trump with “inciting violence against the government of the United States” and requesting his immediate removal from office and disqualification from ever holding one again.
The Republicans who supported the charge included Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the party’s third-ranking leader in the House.
The defections were a remarkable break from the head of the party by Republicans, who voted unanimously against impeaching Trump just a year ago.
Though she put on a statement on Tuesday announcing her intent to vote impeach, Cheney did not rise to speak in support of the article on the floor.
The vote set the stage for the second Senate trial of Trump in a year, though senators appeared unlikely to convene to sit in judgment before Jan. 20, when Biden will take the oath of office.
The last proceeding, over Trump’s attempts to pressure Ukraine to smear Mr. Biden, was a partisan affair.
This time, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, was said to support the effort as a means of purging his party of Mr. Trump, setting up a political and constitutional showdown that could shape the course of American politics when the nation remains dangerously divided.
In a note to Republican colleagues on Wednesday, Mr. McConnell did not deny that he backed the impeachment push, but he said that he had “not made a final decision on how I will vote, and I intend to listen to the legal arguments when they are presented to the Senate.”
Mr. Trump showed no contrition for his actions. But in the run-up to the vote on Wednesday, he issued a statement urging his supporters to remain peaceful as federal authorities warned of a nationwide wave of violence surrounding Mr. Biden’s inauguration.
“There must be no violence, no lawbreaking and no vandalism of any kind,” the president said in a statement that was read by Republicans from the House floor. “That is not what I stand for, and it is not what America stands for. I call on all Americans to help ease tensions and calm tempers.”
The House’s vote was historic. Only two other presidents have been impeached; none has been impeached twice, by such a large bipartisan margin, or so close to leaving office.