US House Impeached Trump for Unprecedented Second Time
The House made history Wednesday by impeaching a president for a second time, indicting President Trump a week before he leaves office for inciting a riot with false claims of a stolen election that led to the storming of the Capitol and five deaths.
Unlike Trump’s first impeachment, which proceeded with almost no GOP support, Wednesday’s effort attracted 10 Republicans, including Rep. Liz Cheney, the No. 3 party leader in the House. The Senate now appears likely to hold a trial after Trump’s departure, an unprecedented scenario that could end with lawmakers barring him from holding the presidency again.
The final vote was 232-197.
One of the final dramas of a tumultuous presidency, the impeachment unfolded against the backdrop of near-chaos in the House and uncertainty about where Trump’s exit leaves the GOP. Democrats and Republicans exchanged accusations and name-calling throughout the day, while Trump loyalists were livid at fellow Republicans who broke ranks — especially Cheney — leaving the party’s leadership shaken.
But despite the emotions stirred by the Capitol assault, the great majority of Republicans stood by the president, including Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). He argued on the House floor that while Trump bears responsibility for the attack on the Capitol, the snap impeachment would only “further fan the flames of partisan division.”
McCarthy for the first time publicly endorsed a censure for Trump, but the call came too late to serve as an effective alternative to impeachment.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other Democrats made it clear Wednesday that censure would not suffice given the circumstances, with Trump riling up his supporters with false claims of election fraud, then urging them to march on Congress as it was certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.
“He must go,” Pelosi said. “He is a clear and present danger to the nation that we all love.”
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