Donald Trump has become the first president to be impeached twice during his time in office after he encouraged his supporters to march on the US Capitol.
The article of impeachment charges Trump with ‘incitement of insurrection,’ and directly quotes the speech he gave supporters last week, January 6, before the Capitol riots. ‘if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country any more,’ he said. The resolution passed in the House of Representatives by 232 to 197; 10 Republicans joined the Democrats in voting in favour of impeachment.
The president told attendees at his ‘Save America’ rally that he would ‘be with’ them as they protested the election results last week. After his speech, rioters stormed the Capitol building and forced lawmakers to evacuate. Five people died as a result of the riots.
Trump has been widely condemned for his response to the events, as he stood by protesters even while telling them to go home, saying: ‘We have to have peace. So go home, we love you, you’re very special.’
During the debate today, January 13, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, ‘The president of the United States incited this insurrection, this armed rebellion against our common country. He must go. He is a clear and present danger to the nation that we all love.’
The historic move will now progress to the Senate, which will decide whether Trump should subsequently be convicted and removed from office.
Lawmakers and US officials called for Trump to be removed from office in the wake of the riot, and he has now officially been impeached for a second time just days before the inauguration of Joe Biden. The impeachment come after Vice President Mike Pence refused to invoke the 25th amendment, which would have removed Trump from office after declaring him ‘incapable of executing the duties of his office and to immediately exercise powers as acting president’.
Both Democrats and Republicans were in support of impeachment, such as Liz Cheney, the third-ranking House Republican, who said the president ‘summoned the mob, assembled the mob and lit the flame of the attack,’ adding there had ‘never been a greater betrayal by a president of the United States’ than Trump’s incitement of riots and insurrection last week, The Guardian reports. Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell reportedly told sources he believes Trump’s actions were impeachable offenses, The New York Times reports.
During the debate, many members of the House spoke out against Trump and his role in inciting the events that unfolded at the Capitol last week. Rep. Jim McGovern said ‘Donald Trump and his allies were stoking the anger of a violent mob,’ adding, ‘This was not a protest this was an insurrection. It was a well organised attack that was incited by Donald Trump.’ While Congresswoman Judy Chu said the rioters were ‘terrorists’ who ‘were radicalised right here in the US. Worse they were radicalised by the president.’
Trump was first impeached in December 2019 for pressuring Ukraine to find damaging information on Biden and his son, Hunter, ahead of the 2020 election. The president went to trial, but the Republican held Senate ultimately voted to acquit him of the charges.
Only two other presidents have been impeached throughout US history; Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998. No president has ever before been impeached twice during their time in Office.
Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee began circulating articles of impeachment against Trump after the breach at Congress, with Congressmen David Cicilline of Rhode Island, Jamie Raskin of Maryland and Ted Lieu of California all drafting documents to impeach the president for ‘abuse of power’, the Independent reports.
The Democrats’ draft impeachment articles stated:
In his conduct of the office of the President of the United States … Donald J. Trump engaged in high Crimes and Misdemeanors by willfully inciting violence against the Government of the United States
The articles pointed out that Trump addressed his supporters shortly before Congress commenced a joint session to confirm the votes of the Electoral College.
They added: ‘There, he reiterated false claims that ‘we won this election, and we won it by a landslide.’ He also willfully made statements that encouraged — and foreseeably resulted in — imminent lawless action at the Capitol.’
Trump was blocked from social media after the protest, but he shared a video denouncing the violence when he regained access on the evening of January 7.
He has promised an ‘orderly’ transition of power going forward, though The New York Times has claimed the president only agreed to condemn the protesters after realising he could face legal consequences for his actions.
Vice President Mike Pence is in line to take over from Trump if he is removed from office, though Biden is set to be inaugurated on January 20.
If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]