President Donald Trump, a man well aware of his accomplishments and place in history, made a first on his record on Wednesday.
A week before he left office, Trump became the first American president to face two indictments in parliament. The chamber charged him with high crimes and misdemeanors for instigating a riot in the US Capitol seven days ago.
The president’s conduct in the 13 months since he was first impeached resulted in House Democrats making a clearer case than the first time. The chamber accused Trump by 232-197 votes as all Democrats and 10 Republicans supported the measure.
The four-page impeachment article approved by the chamber on Wednesday said Trump had been telling his supporters for months that a widespread fraud cost him the 2020 elections and urged them to challenge the results before marching to the Capitol and the Congressional presidential counts upset – Elect Joe Biden to win.
“He threatened the integrity of the democratic system, disrupted the peaceful transfer of power and endangered an equal branch of government. He thereby betrayed his confidence as President to manifest the harm to the people of the United States,” reads the indictment of the House.
President Donald Trump
Joshua Roberts | Reuters
In the aftermath of the riot that killed at least five people, including a Capitol police officer, Democrats have argued that Trump is allowed to serve his term in office. This lets him avoid the consequences and increases the prospect of more violence before Biden’s inauguration on January 20th.
Still, Congress likely won’t have enough time to oust the president from office before next week – even if the Senate now held by the GOP condemns him. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Said after the House vote that the upper chamber would not begin the process until “our first ordinary session after receiving the House article” on Tuesday at the earliest. The schedule means the impeachment process will drag on into Biden’s tenure.
“Even if the Senate process started this week and proceeded immediately, no final judgment would be made until President Trump resigned from office,” McConnell said in a statement on Wednesday. “This is not a decision I am making; it is a fact.”
The Democrats urged Vice President Mike Pence and the Cabinet to start the accelerated process of removing Trump through the 25th Amendment. Pence declined, arguing in a letter Tuesday to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. That the move was not “in the best interests of our nation or in accordance with our constitution.”
Pelosi opened the impeachment debate on the floor of the house on Wednesday by arguing that Trump must leave. After the vote, when she officially signed the article, Pelosi said she took the step “sadly and heartbroken about what it means to our country”.
“Today the House has shown in a bipartisan way that no one is above the law, not even the President of the United States, that Donald Trump poses a clear and present threat to our country,” she said at the lectern. The riot became a week ago photographed from the Capitol.
Although a handful of Republicans voted to indict Trump, the vast majority of GOP officials opposed efforts following the Capitol attack. Kevin McCarthy, minority chairman of the House of Representatives, R-Calif., Said on Wednesday that Trump “is responsible for the insurrection”. But he called impeachment “a mistake” without an investigation or a hearing.
“A vote on the indictment will divide the nation further. A vote on the indictment will further fuel the flames of the partisan division,” he said, calling instead for a resolution to reprimand Trump.
Once the House has sent the impeachment article to the Senate, the upper chamber must quickly initiate a lawsuit. It would then vote on whether Trump should be convicted. The House plans to send the article through the Capitol immediately, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., Told NBC News on Wednesday.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) speaks to reporters while Democrats debate an impeachment article against US President Donald Trump on January 13, 2021 in the US Capitol in Washington, USA.
Joshua Roberts | Reuters
The Senate plans to meet again on Tuesday. Chuck Schumer, Chairman of the Senate Minority, DN.Y., has argued McConnell could use emergency services to bring the Chamber back sooner.
In a statement following the House vote, Schumer said the Senate would “bring a fair trial to the impeachment of Donald J. Trump for his role in inciting the violent uprising in the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 and trying to establish a free and fair election to overthrow, deter. ” . “
“A Senate process can begin immediately, with the approval of the current Senate Majority Leader, to convene the Senate for an emergency session, or it will begin after Jan. 19,” he said. “But make no mistake, there will be an impeachment trial in the United States Senate; there will be a vote to convict the president of high crimes and misdemeanors; and if the president is convicted, there will be a vote to ban the president give.” once again.”
While the Senate won’t have enough time to remove the president from office, it may stop him from becoming president again in 2025. He could also lose the perks that were granted to former presidents.
The president took no responsibility for the Capitol invasion. On Tuesday he defended himself and said, “People thought what I was saying was entirely appropriate.” He also said impeachment “poses a tremendous threat to our country and causes tremendous anger”.
Legislators have sounded the alarm about the possibility of another uprising, including on the day Biden was inaugurated.
Trump responded to these concerns on Wednesday in a video released after the vote but did not mention impeachment.
“Mob violence goes against everything I believe in and what our movement stands for. No true supporter of mine could ever advocate political violence,” he said.
He later continued: “There must be no violence, no violations of the law and no vandalism” during the demonstrations planned for the coming days.
When Pelosi stood up for Trump’s Senate condemnation, he warned of the potential for Trump to wreak havoc in the years to come. She called for a vote on condemnation in the upper chamber as “a constitutional means that will ensure the republic is safe from this man who is so determined to tear down the things that matter to us and that hold us together”.
A congress that was on the sidelines after the uprising and threatening the lives of lawmakers went to work on Wednesday in an unrecognizable setting. Improved fortifications stood outside the Capitol. Members of the National Guard slept in the Legislative Halls and Capitol Visitors Center overnight. Legislators had to go through a metal detector to get to the floor of the house, which outraged some Republicans after it was set up Tuesday.
When the House first indicted Trump, only one Republican Congressman – Utah Senator Mitt Romney – along with the Democrats tried to remove the president. Former MP Justin Amash, a former Republican who became independent, also voted to indict Trump in 2019.
The Capitol uprising prepared more GOP lawmakers to remove their party’s president from office.
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) speaks with Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) in the U.S. Capitol after the House voted on a resolution calling for U.S. Vice President Pence and the cabinet out of President Trump Office located in Washington, USA. January 12, 2021.
Erin Scott | Reuters
GOP lawmakers who voted in favor of Trump’s indictment on Wednesday include Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the third largest member of the GOP caucus.
“There has never been a major betrayal of his office and his oath on the Constitution by a President of the United States,” she said in a statement on Tuesday about Trump’s conduct before and after the attack.
The other Republicans who voted for the indictment against the president are Reps John Katko from New York, Adam Kinzinger from Illinois, Fred Upton from Michigan, Jaime Herrera Beutler from Washington, Dan Newhouse from Washington, Peter Meijer from Michigan, Anthony Gonzalez from Ohio, Tom Reis from South Carolina and David Valadao from California.
No Senate Republicans have yet announced plans to remove Trump. The New York Times reported Tuesday that McConnell believes Trump committed criminal acts. In a Wednesday message to colleagues responding to “speculation” in the press, McConnell said he had not made a decision whether to support the impeachment.
“I have not made a final decision on how I will vote and I intend to hear the legal arguments when they are presented to the Senate,” he wrote.
Two GOP senators – Lisa Murkowski from Alaska and Pat Toomey from Pennsylvania – have called on Trump to resign. Senator Ben Sasse, R-Neb., Said he would “consider” any article the House sends on the Capitol.
Some Republicans suggested that after the first impeachment, Trump would learn a lesson and curb his behavior. Other GOP lawmakers concluded this week that they cannot trust him to take responsibility for his actions.
Upton cited Trump’s lack of remorse for helping spark the Capitol uprising by saying he would vote to indict the president. In a statement on Tuesday, he said the president had “not regretted last week’s violent uprising.”
In a statement Tuesday explaining her decision to indict Trump, Beutler went through Trump’s actions during the uprising in detail. She said “It took hours before the president took any useful action to stop the attack,” citing his continued criticism of Pence even after the vice president escaped the mob. She noted that in a “pathetic condemnation of violence, which also served as a wink and nod to those who perpetuated it,” Trump said “we love you” to his supporters who stormed the Capitol.
Now, for the second time in Trump’s presidency, his impeachment will go to the Senate. The chamber will split between 50 and 50 by the end of the month when elected Senators Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff of Georgia are sworn in.
If every Democrat condemns Trump, 17 Republicans would have to join them to meet the required two-thirds threshold.
Trump could have another unique place in American history. The only President twice indicted could be the first to be convicted by the Senate.
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