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Tuesday December 07, 2021

House votes to impeach Trump

The vote against President Trump would pave the way for a Senate trial, probably after he leaves office

January 14, 2021

House votes to impeach Trump

WASHINGTON: A bipartisan majority of lawmakers in the House of Representatives voted 232:197 Wednesday to impeach 45th US President, Donald Trump seven days from the end of his term, assuring he becomes the first US president to be impeached twice. Nancy Pelosi has officially confirmed Trump’s second impeachment.

They supported impeachment on the single charge of "incitement of insurrection" for Trump's role in whipping up a violent mob surpassed 217, the majority threshold out of 433 current House members. The GOP is on a path that splits in two very different directions. At least 10 Republicans joined the Democrats.

This vote marks an important change from the president’s first impeachment. In 2020, not a single House Republican voted for Trump’s impeachment. The vote against him would pave the way for a Senate trial, probably after he leaves office.

The main question now is to what extent former Republican allies in the Senate will turn on their party's figurehead. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is signaling he's in favour of impeachment, but won't agree to bring back Senate early for trial, GOP sources say.

His office on Wednesday confirmed that he would not reconvene the Senate until January 19, the eve of Biden's inauguration, meaning Trump is virtually certain to serve out his term. However, a conviction in the Senate could lead to a decision to bar Trump from running again in 2024, a relief to those Republicans who have feared incurring his wrath. McConnell is set to lose his control of the Senate to the Democrats, who won two runoff elections in Georgia last week.

However, impeachment alone is not enough to bar a president from seeking office again. After impeachment in the House, then convicted in a Senate trial, senators could then hold an additional vote on whether to explicitly bar him from running again. This vote would require just a simple majority in the chamber.

His impeachment process will feel entirely new and different from the one we saw in late 2019 around the Ukraine investigation, most notably because the Senate trial is expected to occur after Trump leaves office.

New President Joe Biden will be asking the Senate to vote on his Cabinet nominees and act on legislation to address the Covid pandemic as well as relief for Americans hurt by the troubled economy.

In 2020, Senate business ground to a complete haltduring the trial. This time, incoming Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is hoping to pursue a half-day schedule to conduct the trial part of the day and business the rest of the day.

During the sometimes stormy debate, Representative Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Democrat of Florida, said "To overturn the 2020 election Trump incited a violent assault on Congress, a treasonous betrayal of our nation." she said: "He leaves us no choice but to immediately remove him from office. Representative Diana Harshbarger, Republican of Tennessee. "I've been here all of one week and what I see instead of lawmakers who are truth seekers I see lawmakers who are power seekers," the freshman lawmaker said, adding she would not vote to impeach Trump.

Ten Republicans joined their Democratic colleagues in voting in favour of the impeachment resolution, including Rep Dan Newhouse of Washington, Rep John Katko of New York, Rep Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington, Rep Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, Rep Fred Upton of Michigan, Rep Liz Cheney of Wyoming, Rep Peter Meijer of Michigan, Rep Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio, Rep Tom Rice of South Carolina, Rep David Valadao of California.

Earlier in the afternoon, Washington was in a state of siege with armed National Guards deployed, central streets barred to cars and public spaces fenced off. In the Capitol building itself, guards in full camouflage and carrying assault rifles assembled, some of them grabbing naps early on Wednesday under the ornate statues and historical paintings.

Trump's epic downfall was triggered by his January 6 speech to a crowd on the National Mall, telling them that Biden had stolen the election and that they needed to march on Congress and show "strength." Amped up on weeks of conspiracy theories pushed by Trump, the mob stormed into the Capitol, fatally injured one police officer, wrecked furniture and forced terrified lawmakers to hide, interrupting a ceremony to put the legal stamp on Biden's victory. One protester was shot dead, and three other people died of "medical emergencies," bringing the toll to five.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi demanded the impeachment of Donald Trump in the final week of his presidency, calling him a "clear and present danger" to America for inciting an "armed rebellion" at the US Capitol.

"He must go. He is a clear and present danger to the nation that we all love," the most powerful Democrat in Congress told the House chamber during debate over whether to impeach Trump for an unprecedented second time, for "incitement of insurrection."

But Nancy Mace, a newly-elected Republican congresswoman, said that while lawmakers "need to hold the president accountable" over the violence, the speed of the process "poses great questions about the constitutionality." Trump broke his silence from the White House only to issue a brief statement insisting on his opposition to violence.

"In light of reports of more demonstrations, I urge that there must be no violence, no lawbreaking and no vandalism of any kind. That is not what I stand for," he said."I call on all Americans to help ease tensions and calm tempers. Thank You." But his once seemingly unbreakable grip on Republicans is eroding as leaders run out of patience -- and look to a post-Trump rebuilding of their party. As many as nine Republicans announced to vote for impeachment.

However, Vice President Mike Pence threw Trump a lifeline on Tuesday, telling House Speaker he would not invoke the 25th Amendment that allows him and the cabinet to strip the sitting president of his powers.

The top Republican in the House of Representatives said that Donald Trump "bears responsibility" for inciting a riot at the US Capitol, but warned that a hurried impeachment of the president would be inappropriate.