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Trump Impeached a Second Time in Unprecedented Move

January 13, 2021, 4:31 PM HST
* Updated January 13, 4:38 PM
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U.S. Capitol, Washington DC. Photo courtesy of PIXABAY.

Donald Trump has been impeached for a historic second time and next week, he will become the only president in US history to face two separate trials on the Senate floor.

The House of Representatives on Wednesday voted by a tally of 232 to 197 to impeach Trump for “incitement of insurrection.” It is the most serious charge ever levied at a US president, sitting or otherwise.

Democrats and Republicans alike spoke out against the president on the House floor.

“Upon the foundations of virtue, reason and patient wisdom laid down by George Washington as our first president, Donald Trump has constructed a glass palace of lies, fear-mongering, and sedition. Last Wednesday on Jan. 6, the nation and the world watched it shatter to pieces,” said Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, a Democrat and the House Majority Leader. “He ought to be removed. And we have that opportunity to do so. Is there little time left? Yes. But it is never too late to do the right thing.”

“The president took an oath to defend the constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic,” said Rep. Dan Newhouse of Washington State, a Republican. “Last week there was a domestic threat at the door of the Capitol and he did nothing to stop it. That is why with a heavy heart and clear resolve I will vote yes on these articles of impeachment.”

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Many Republicans also spoke for the president and against impeachment.

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“If we impeached every politician who gave a fiery speech to a crowd of partisans, this Capitol would be deserted,” said Rep. Tom McClintock of California. “That’s what the president did, that is all he did.”

“The US House of Representatives has every right to impeach the president of the United States,” said Rep. Nancy Mace of South Carolina. “But what we’re doing today, rushing this impeachment in an hour- or two-hour-long debate on the floor of this chamber, bypassing Judiciary, poses great questions about the constitutionality of this process.”

House proceedings arrived exactly one week following a deadly attack on the Capitol Building in Washington DC by a mob of Trump supporters. The president’s rhetoric leading up to the riot and the length of time it took him to publicly condemn it were behind the impeachment.

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The context includes months of false claims of election fraud both made and circulated by President Trump, though those actions did not play specific impeachable roles in the articles brought forth and passed by representatives Wednesday.

Trump has not acknowledged or apologized for his role in the DC riot, which ultimately cost two Capitol Police officers their lives and put at risk the lives of every member of Congress. However, several members of the Republican party condemned both the president’s actions leading up to the riot and his inaction in its wake.

Ten GOP members of the House voted with every Democrat to impeach Wednesday. They are as follows:

  • Liz Cheney of Wyoming (No. 3 Republican leader in the House)
  • Adam Kinzinger of Illinois
  • John Katko of New York
  • David Valadao of California
  • Tom Rice of South Carolina.
  • Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio
  • Fred Upton of Michigan
  • Peter Meijer of Michigan
  • Dan Newhouse of Washington
  • Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington

Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, a Republican and the House Minority Leader, stood against impeachment Wednesday, saying he believed it would create further division among an already divided American public.

However, in his remarks McCarthy went on to propose censuring the president, blaming him for the attack and rebuffing conspiracy theories that members of ANTIFA were responsible for the storming of the Capitol rather than the MAGA-clad Trump supporters caught on film and in photos.

“The president bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters,” McCarthy said. “He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding.”

Proceedings now move to the Senate for a trial. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he would not call for an emergency session of the nation’s 100 senators before they are regularly scheduled to reconvene on Jan. 19 — one day before President-Elect Joe Biden is to be inaugurated.

McConnell acknowledged that he backed the House’s move to impeach the president. But he added he has not yet decided how he will vote in the coming trial.

Legal arguments will have to play out on the Senate floor, meaning Trump will no longer be the sitting president by the time the impeachment reaches a vote, but he can still be impeached after leaving office.

The president offered a statement of his own Wednesday, calling for calm across the country and condemning the violence from one week ago.

“In light of reports of more demonstrations, I urge that there must be no violence, no lawbreaking and, no vandalism of any kind,” 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.”

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