Donald Trump Impeached for ‘Incitement of Insurrection’ at the Capitol — and 10 Republicans Vote Yes
For the second time in less than 13 months, President Donald Trump has been impeached by the House of Representatives.
A bipartisan majority in the House voted Wednesday afternoon to impeach Trump, 74, on one charge of "incitement of insurrection" for his role in encouraging his supporters to march on the U.S. Capitol last week.
The ensuing riot left five people dead, including a Capitol police officer.
The House voted 232-197 in favor of his second impeachment, with 10 Republican representatives joining the Democratic-led effort this time around.
Trump was previously impeached in December 2019 on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress in his Ukraine scandal.
No Republican members of the House voted in favor of his impeachment then, and Trump was swiftly acquitted in the GOP-led Senate where the only Republican who voted to convict Trump was Mitt Romney, a vocal critic.
But after Trump called on rally attendees to "fight like hell" over his baseless claims of election fraud and march last week to the Capitol — where a joint session of Congress had gathered to ratify the Nov. 3 election — nearly a dozen Republicans supported the effort to impeach him a second time, including Rep. Liz Cheney, the No. 3. GOP member in the House.
As throngs of Trump supporters turned into a violent mob on Jan. 6, the president offered contradictory reactions: He had said they should be "peaceful" and "patriotic" but then offered sympathy for the rioters, calling them "very special" even as he told them to return home. He later tweeted "these are the things and events that happen .... Remember this day forever!"
On Tuesday, he insisted to reporters that his speech before last week's riot was "totally appropriate."
Trump is the third president in American history to ever be impeached and the first to be impeached twice.
His unprecedented second impeachment comes with just one week left in his term.
Following Wednesday's House vote, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that Trump's trial could not begin in earnest until he leaves office on Jan. 20, though Democrats had reportedly investigated options to convene sooner.
President-elect Joe Biden, who is set to take the oath of office next Wednesday, said he has asked Congress if they can split their upcoming sessions in order to focus on both his predecessor's impeachment and on his initial agenda.
Biden, 78, has said he hopes to quickly confirm his Cabinet picks, pass a new COVID-19 stimulus package, and begin work on rebuilding the U.S. economy.
"Can you go a half-day on dealing with the impeachment, and a half-day getting my people nominated and confirmed in the Senate?" Biden told reporters he had asked members of the House and Senate.
When Trump was impeached in 2019 there was little question whether his GOP allies in the Senate would acquit him on the two charges, after the House majority said an investigation showed he withheld military aid to Ukraine while pressuring officials there to investigate the Biden family. (No evidence of wrongdoing by the Bidens has been found.)
But now, some of Trump's fiercest supporters in the Senate said last week they were done standing by the president after last week's deadly riot, which forced lawmakers — and Vice President Mike Pence — to hide from the violent crowd as they invaded the U.S. Capitol, clashed with law enforcement and ransacked lawmakers' offices.
Five people died during the riot, including a member of the mob who was fatally shot and a police officer who was attacked.
"Enough is enough," Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of Trump's most loyal allies in Congress, said after the riot.
Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski, Ben Sasse and Pat Toomey have all denounced Trump's actions in recent days and hinted at support for his impeachment, while The New York Times reported that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is also in favor of the move. (He subsequently said in a statement he had not made up his mind about impeachment.)
"I want him out," Murkowski told The Anchorage Daily News, calling on Trump to resign. "He has caused enough damage."
A two-thirds Senate majority would be needed to convict Trump.
On Tuesday, the House asked Pence, 61, to invoke the 25th Amendment and strip Trump of his powers. However, in a letter, Pence told Congress he would not, which led House members to move forward with Trump's second impeachment.
If the Senate ultimately convicts Trump, lawmakers could then hold a second vote to decide whether to ban the president from ever serving in federal office again.