House impeaches Trump for the second time

The House of Representatives voted Wednesday to impeach President Trump on charges of “incitement of insurrection” for his role in the Jan. 6 siege of the Capitol building by his supporters that left five people dead.

Before Wednesday, no U.S. president had ever been impeached twice.

The impeachment article was passed by a vote of 232-197, with 10 Republicans joining the Democrats in the chamber.

Under the Constitution, the next step would be a trial in the Senate, which could result in Trump’s removal from office. But with just a week left in his term, the issue appeared to be moot — although nothing is certain in the head-spinning developments that have engulfed Washington, D.C., since Trump was defeated in the presidential election on Nov. 3.

The article of impeachment charged that Trump “gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of Government” by promoting false election fraud claims, seeking to illegally manufacture a different election outcome and inviting his supporters to attend the Jan. 6 rally in Washington that turned violent.

“He threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power, and imperiled a coequal branch of Government,” the impeachment article stated. “He thereby betrayed his trust as President, to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a speech on the House floor that the aim of the pro-Trump mob was to “overturn the duly reported will of the American people,” and laid blame at the feet of the president.

“We know that the president of the United States incited this insurrection, this armed rebellion against our common country. He must go,” Pelosi said.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, surrounded by a security detail, walks to her office from the House floor at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 13. (Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images)
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, surrounded by a security detail, walks to her office from the House floor on Wednesday. (Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images)

Unlike the almost entirely party-line vote on Trump’s first impeachment in the House on Dec. 18, 2019, on charges of obstruction of justice and abuse of power, this one could not be portrayed by the president as simply a partisan exercise. Republican Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, Peter Meijer and Fred Upton of Michigan, Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, David Valadao of California, John Katko of New York, Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio, Tom Rice of South Carolina, and Jaime Herrera Beutler and Dan Newhouse of Washington all voted in favor of impeachment.

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