With the Capitol secured by armed National Guard troops inside and out, the House voted 232-197 to impeach Trump. The proceedings moved at lightning speed, with lawmakers voting just one week after violent pro-Trump loyalists stormed the U.S. Capitol, egged on by the president’s calls for them to “fight like hell” against the election results.
Every Democrat voted to impeach and 10 Republicans joined in voting yes: Liz Cheney (Wyo.), Anthony Gonzalez (Ohio), Jamie Herrera-Beutler (Wash.), John Katko (N.Y.), Adam Kinzinger (Ill.), Peter Meijer (Mich.), Dan Newhouse (Wash.), Tom Rice (S.C.), Fred Upton (Mich.), and David Valadao (Calif.). Four Republicans did not vote either way — Rep. Kay Granger (Tex.), Rep. Andy Harris (Md.), Rep. Greg Murphy (N.C.), Rep. Dan Crenshaw (Tex.).
During the debate before the vote, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi asked Republicans and Democrats to “search their souls.”
Trump is the first American president to be impeached twice.
The impeachment proceedings came one week after a violent, pro-Trump mob breached the Capitol, sending lawmakers into hiding and revealing the fragility of the nation’s history of peaceful transfers of power. Five people died.
Trump has taken no responsibility for the riot.
Actual removal seems unlikely before the Jan. 20 inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would not agree to bring that chamber back immediately, all but ensuring a Senate trial could not begin at least until Jan. 19. Still, McConnell did not rule out voting to convict Trump in the event of a trial.
The stunning collapse of Trump’s final days in office, against alarming warnings of more violence ahead by his followers, leaves the nation at an uneasy and unfamiliar juncture before Democrat Joe Biden is inaugurated.
“If inviting a mob to insurrection against your own government is not an impeachable event, then what is?” said Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., a drafter of the articles of impeachment.
The four-page impeachment resolution relied on Trump’s own incendiary rhetoric and the falsehoods he spread about Biden’s election victory, including at a White House rally on the day of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, in building its case for high crimes and misdemeanors as demanded in the Constitution.
Confronting his potential place in history, Trump warned lawmakers off it, suggesting it was the drive to oust him rather than his actions around the bloody riot that was dividing the country.
“To continue on this path, I think it’s causing tremendous danger to our country, and it’s causing tremendous anger,” Trump said Tuesday, his first remarks to reporters since last week’s violence.
A Capitol police officer died from injuries suffered in the riot, and police shot and killed a woman during the siege. Three other people died in what authorities said were medical emergencies.
The outgoing president offered no condolences for those dead or injured, only saying, “I want no violence.”
The House tried first to push Vice President Mike Pence and the Cabinet to intervene, passing a resolution Tuesday night calling on them to invoke the 25th Amendment to the Constitution to remove Trump from office. The resolution urged Pence to “declare what is obvious to a horrified Nation: That the President is unable to successfully discharge the duties and powers of his office.”
Hours before the vote, however, Pence made it clear he would not do so. In a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Pence said it was “time to unite our country as we prepare to inaugurate President-elect Joe Biden.”
Unprecedented events, with just over a week remaining in Trump’s term, are unfolding as the FBI warned ominously of potential armed protests by Trump loyalists ahead of Biden’s inauguration.
A statement from President Trump about these potential protests was released by the White House Wednesday. It reads, “In light of reports of more demonstrations, I urge that there must be NO violence, NO lawbreaking and NO vandalism of any kind. 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. Thank You.”
Capitol Police urged lawmakers to be on alert.
With new security, lawmakers were required to pass through metal detectors to enter the House chamber, not far from where Capitol police, guns drawn, had barricaded the door against the rioters. Some Republican lawmakers complained about the screening.
Biden has said it’s important to ensure that the “folks who engaged in sedition and threatening the lives, defacing public property, caused great damage – that they be held accountable.”
Associated Press writers Alan Fram and Zeke Miller contributed to this report.
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