President Donald Trump has been impeached for “incitement of insurrection” with just six days left in his term, a sign of the residual anger over the January 6 breach and ransacking of the United States Capitol that he encouraged.
He is the first President in American history to be impeached twice.
This impeachment was more of a bipartisan effort than the first with 10 Republicans joining the entire House Democratic caucus. No House Republicans voted to impeach Trump last impeachment, almost exactly a year ago, where the issue at hand was the President’s “perfect” call pressuring Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
The Republicans who voted for impeachment are Reps. Liz Cheney (R-WY), Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH), Peter Meijer (R-MI), John Katko (R-NY), Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), Tom Rice (R-SC), Fred Upton (R-MI), Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA), Dan Newhouse (R-WA) and David Valadao (R-CA).
The article Trump was impeached on this time details both his incitement of the mob that took over the Capitol and his January 2 call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger during which he tried to coerce the election official to “find” enough votes to overturn the state’s presidential election result.
“There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution,” wrote Cheney, the highest-ranking House Republican to vote for impeachment.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) voted against impeachment, though he admitted that Trump “bears responsibility” for the Capitol raid.
The article will now be sent to the Senate, though it is not clear when the trial will begin. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) told Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) Wednesday that he will not reconvene the chamber before January 19 in order to hold the trial while Trump is still in office. President-Elect Joe Biden has reportedly reached out to McConnell to pursue the possibility of “bifurcated” days to enable both the impeachment trial and confirmation of his nominees to proceed at the same time.
Congress was spurred to action after a MAGA-clad mob broke into the Capitol building, vandalized and robbed legislators’ offices, including that of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), and sent lawmakers into hiding. The first three officials in the line of succession — Vice President Mike Pence, Pelosi and Senate President Pro Tempore Chuck Grassley (R-IA) — were all in the Capitol when the insurrection occurred.
Just before the raid, Trump encouraged the crowd to go to the Capitol, adding that they’ll have to “fight much harder” to get the results of the election overturned.
Democrats and a handful of Republicans have since cried out for repercussions both for Trump and for his Republican allies — particularly Sens. Josh Hawley (R-MO) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) — who by amplifying weeks of his election fraud lies helped fan the flame of the mob’s fury.
While impeachment was always in the mix as a punishment, some also called for Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment and looked to a Civil War-era section of the 14th Amendment, which would bar those who engaged in insurrection from holding office again. Pence has written publicly that he will not invoke the 25th, leaving impeachment as the most immediate mechanism to hold the President accountable.