Ten Republicans joined Democrats who said he needed to be held accountable and warned ominously of a “clear and present danger” if Congress should leave him unchecked before Democrat Joe Biden’s inauguration January 20.
Trump is the only U.S. president to be twice impeached. It was the most bipartisan presidential impeachment in modern times, more so than against Bill Clinton in 1998.
The Capitol insurrection stunned and angered lawmakers, who were sent scrambling for safety as the mob descended. The riot forced a reckoning among some Republicans, who have stood by Trump throughout his presidency and mostly allowed him to spread false information about the 2020 election results.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi invoked Abraham Lincoln and the Bible, imploring lawmakers to uphold their oath to defend the Constitution from all enemies, foreign “and domestic.”
She said of Trump: “He must go, he is a clear and present danger to the nation that we all love.”
In the face of the accusations against him and with the FBI warning of more violence, Trump said: “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.”
Trump was first impeached by the House in 2019 over his dealings with Ukraine. The Senate voted in 2020 acquit, or find him not guilty of those charges. He is the first to be impeached twice. No president has been convicted by the Senate.
The soonest Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell would start an impeachment trial is Tuesday, the day before Trump is set to leave the White House, McConnell’s office said. The legislation is also intended to prevent Trump from ever running for office again.
McConnell believes Trump committed impeachable offenses and considers the Democrats’ impeachment drive an opportunity to reduce the divisive, chaotic president’s hold on the Republican Party, a party strategist told the Associated Press on Wednesday.
McConnell told major donors over the weekend that he was through with Trump, said the strategist, who demanded anonymity to describe McConnell’s conversations.
In a note to colleagues Wednesday, McConnell said he had “not made a final decision on how I will vote.”
Unlike his first time, Trump faces this impeachment as a weakened leader, having lost his own reelection as well as the Senate Republican majority.
Even Trump ally Kevin McCarthy, the House Republican leader, shifted his position and said Wednesday the president bears responsibility for the horrifying day at the Capitol.
In making a case for the “high crimes and misdemeanors” demanded in the Constitution, the four-page impeachment resolution approved Wednesday relies on Trump’s own incendiary rhetoric and the falsehoods he spread about Biden’s election victory, including at a rally near the White House on the day of the Capitol attack.
A Capitol Police officer died of injuries suffered in the riot, and police shot and killed a woman during the siege. Three other people died in what authorities said were medical emergencies. The riot delayed the electoral college vote tally, the last step in finalizing Biden’s victory.
Ten Republican lawmakers, including third-ranking House Republican leader Liz Cheney of Wyoming, voted to impeach Trump.
Conviction and removal of Trump would require a two-thirds vote in the Senate, which will be evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans.
The impeachment bill draws from Trump’s own false statements about his election defeat to Biden. Judges across the country, including some nominated by Trump, have repeatedly dismissed cases challenging the election results, and former Attorney General William Barr, a Trump ally, has said there was no sign of widespread fraud.