On Wednesday, Donald Trump has become the first president in the history of the United States to be impeached twice. The second one is for “inciting” a deadly riot at the Capitol a week ago in an effort to stay in power.
The House of Representatives has charged the president with “incitement of insurrection.”
The decision came as members of the National Guard start roaming the capitol. Reports of armed threats happening near President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration have previously surfaced.
Recently, the president has been forced to stay silent as social media platforms have stripped him of his ability to speak his mind on the internet. Meanwhile, the impeachment just demonstrates how his once-iron-clad grip on the Republican party has been slipping.
Trump only has a week left in office, but many Democrats and some Republicans demanded him to be held accountable for the mobbing of the Capitol.
All Democrats in the House voted in favor of Trump being impeached again. Meanwhile, 10 Republicans, including the third most powerful House Republican in the House, Liz Cheney, voted to impeach.
Apart from Cheney, Reps. Peter Meijer, Tom Rice, Fred Upton, Anthony Gonzalez, John Katko, Adam Kinzinger, Jaime Herrera Beutler, David Valadao, and Dan Newhouse also voted in favor of the impeachment.
The vote ended with 232-197.
Article on the Way to the Senate
Rep. Steny Hoyer, the House Majority Leader, mentioned that they plan to pass the article to the Senate as soon as they can. They want to do this so that a trial to convict Trump and remove him from power can commence. It is, however, possible for the trial to be delayed until Jan. 19.
The Senate is currently not present in Washington. Therefore, the trial may continue to take place during the first few days of Biden’s administration. By that time, even if Trump is not in power anymore, he could still receive the consequences tied to an impeachment. This includes a ban from running for office again.
When the trial commences, 17 or more Republican senators would need to vote in favor of convicting Trump. On Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell revealed that he has yet to make “a final decision on how I will vote and I intend to listen to the legal arguments when they are presented to the Senate.”
Trump being impeached for the second time comes a week after he spoke at a rally in front of his supporters. In the said rally, Trump urged his supporters to “march” to the Capitol and try to stop lawmakers from pushing through with certifying the 2020 election results. His supporters, however, did more by storming the Capitol building. This forced members of Congress, as well as their staff members, to evacuate the building for their safety. The riot resulted in five deaths and more than 70 arrests.
The impeachment article against Trump reads in part: “Donald John Trump engaged in high Crimes and Misdemeanors by inciting violence against the Government of the United States.”
Lawmakers Fearing for Their Safety?
Reports have surfaced, claiming that Republicans feared for their safety if they voted in favor of the impeachment. To this, Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar urged his colleagues to stand up for what they believe in or resign from their post.
Omar said: “As someone who has had death threats directly incited by the president grave enough to truly endanger my life, I summon the courage every single day to show up and to represent my constituents and to carry out the duties of the office that I hold. Courage is possibly facing death but being resolute in your actions. And to my colleagues, if they are so afraid to fulfill their oath of office, they should resign.”
Efforts to Remove Trump From Office
Prior to the impeachment, the House passed a nonbinding resolution trying to urge Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment against trump. Before they could vote, Pence refused, describing the resolution as “mind games.” However, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that if he doesn’t invoke the 25th Amendment, the House will push through with impeachment. And the House did just this on Wednesday.
During a speech on the House floor, Rep. Donald Norcross from New Jersey said: “A police officer was killed and what I hear is ‘It’s time to heal.’ He’s not even buried yet!” Norcross said, raising his voice. “It’s clear and present danger. No one is above the law. Not the president, if he has four years or four days.”
Meanwhile, Democratic Rep. Cori Bush from Missouri also delivered a speech on the House floor. She said: “If we fail to remove a white supremacist president who incited a white supremacist insurrection, it’s communities like Missouri’s 1st District that suffer the most. The 117th Congress must understand that we have a mandate to legislate in defense of Black lives. The first step is to root out white supremacy, starting with impeaching the white supremacist in chief.”
First v.s. Second Impeachment
Late into 2019, the House voted in favor of Trump being impeached for the first time. They charged him with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. These charges come after he pursued interference in the 2020 elections when he called Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The process was more drawn out the first time Trump was impeached. It came after weeks of hearings conducted before members of the House voted. That time, no Republican member voted to impeach Trump, and the Senate acquitted him in the end.
This new impeachment procedure, however, is swifter. It also looks like it may end in a Senate conviction. The Democrats who pushed for it decided to forgo hearings and directly brought the article to the House Floor.
In Rep. Frank Pallone’s words, “I think it’s even more serious. Because the offense is even more serious — the attack on the Capitol, the inciting a group to overturn the election,” he said.
Democrats in the Senate
On Tuesday night, Pelosi appointed House impeachment managers. They will serve as the prosecutors of the case in the Senate.
Last week, Democrats won both seats in the Georgia runoff, effectively giving them the majority in the Senate once the new senators-elect get sworn in. If every Democrat in the Senate votes to convict Trump, they will still need 17 GOP senators to vote the same way to succeed. If the outgoing president is convicted, they can ban Trump from running for office again via a majority vote.
The article of impeachment against Trump further reads: “Donald John Trump … has demonstrated that he will remain a threat to national security, democracy, and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office and has acted in a manner grossly incompatible with self-governance and the rule of law. Donald John Trump thus warrants impeachment and trial, removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States.”