Trump was impeached for inciting a terrorist attack at the Capitol building in an effort to overturn the presidential election and remain in power.
The House of Representatives voted to impeach President Donald Trump on Wednesday for inciting an insurrection at the US Capitol last week. Trump will be the only president in American history to be impeached twice.
All Democrats voted to impeach the president, and this time, they were joined by 10 Republicans. The domestic terrorist attack at the Capitol left five people dead, including Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick. Another Capitol Police officer, Howard Liebengood, officer took his own life on Saturday.
During Trump’s first impeachment, which was the result of the Trump administration threatening to withhold US government aid to Ukraine in exchange for dirt on the Biden family, no Republicans voted to support the effort.
The impeachment articles now go to the Senate, where a trial will be held. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has said the chamber will not return from a recess until Jan. 19, pushing an actual vote on convicting Trump until at least Jan. 20, the same day President-elect Joe Biden will be inaugurated.
If two-thirds of the senators present vote to convict Trump, a majority vote can then bar the president from ever holding political office again.
Trump tried to stave off the impeachment effort by releasing a statement during the floor debate in the House. In that statement, he urged that “there must be NO violence, NO lawbreaking and NO vandalism of any kind” during demonstrations that are planned by his supporters over the next week.
This is the most effort the president has made to quell the very violence that he has encouraged for years. Even during the terrorist attack at the US Capitol last week, Trump was reportedly gleeful watching his supporters “fight like hell” in the Capitol, where they threatened the lives of public officials and descretated the building.
Trump’s statement this time around comes on the heels of news that McConnell has told people he thinks Trump perpetrated impeachable offenses.
The Senate majority leader—who will become minority leader once Biden is inaugurated—also sees House Democrats’ drive to impeach Trump as an opportune moment to distance the GOP from the tumultuous, divisive outgoing president. His potential willingness to consider impeachment this time around may make it easier for other members of the GOP to distance themselves from the outgoing president.
But McConnell’s vote against Trump isn’t set in stone.
“I have not made a final decision on how I will vote and I intend to listen to the legal arguments when they are presented to the Senate,” McConnell said in a letter to his Senate colleagues Wednesday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
01/13/21, 4:37PM: This story has been updated with the final vote tally.