WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has been impeached by the U.S. House over the violent siege of the Capitol. He is the only president to be twice impeached.
He faced a single charge “incitement of insurrection” in Wednesday's vote after he encouraged a mob of loyalists to, as he put it, “fight like hell” against election results. The subsequent attack on the U.S. Capitol turned deadly and delayed finalizing Democrat Joe Biden's election victory.
Security was exceptionally tight at the Capitol for Wednesday's vote, beefed up by armed National Guard troops, with secure perimeters set up and metal-detector screenings required for lawmakers entering the House chamber.
Wednesday's vote saw the unbreakable wall of Republican support that encouraged and enabled Donald Trump’s norm-shattering presidency crack. A group of 10 House Republicans joined Democrats on Wednesday to impeach Trump for inciting the riot at the U.S. Capitol last week.
The GOP backing is in sharp contrast to the unanimous support for Trump among House Republicans when he was impeached by Democrats in December 2019. Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, the third-ranking House Republican, led the GOP opposition to Trump, saying he had betrayed his office.
The vast majority of the GOP stood by Trump. But even some of those who opposed impeachment condemned Trump’s behavior and blamed him for sparking the insurrection.
A more consequential vote awaits later this month in the Senate, where Trump’s party is hardly rallying to his side. The choice facing Republicans isn’t just about the immediate fate of Trump but whether the party’s elected leaders are ready to move on.
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer vows there will be an impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, even if it’s after he leaves office and Democrat Joe Biden is inaugurated. Schumer said that if Trump is convicted, there will be a vote on barring Trump from ever running again for office.
Schumer said Wednesday that the trial could begin immediately if Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell agreed to convene an emergency session. If not, the trial will begin after January 19. That’s the quickest the Senate can start under the existing calendar.
McConnell said earlier Wednesday that there is “no chance” that the Senate will be able to hold a “fair or serious” impeachment trial before Biden is sworn in.
The Kentucky Republican may be blocking a quick Senate trial of Trump, but he's told colleagues he's not made up his mind about how he'll vote whenever that trial begins. McConnell is Washington's most influential Republican.
The trial probably won't begin until around January 20. That's when Democrats will take majority control of the chamber and the day of Democrat Joe Biden's presidential inauguration.