President Trump was impeached a second time by the US House of Representatives on Wednesday in a largely party-line vote that saw a handful of Republicans join Democrats to blame the outgoing commander-in-chief for sparking last week’s Capitol siege.
The historic vote passed 217 yea votes to make Trump the only president to be impeached twice.
The move set the stage for a Senate trial that a spokesman for Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said won’t begin before the Jan. 20 inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.
At least seven Republicans publicly pledged to side to vote against Trump: Liz Cheney of Wyoming, Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, John Katko of New York, Fred Upton of Michigan, Dan Newhouse and Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington, and Peter Meijer of Michigan.
No Republicans voted yes for Trump’s first impeachment just over a year ago.
n a tweet posted minutes before nearly 3 1/2 hours of floor debate ended, Mejier said he made his decision with a “heavy heart” but said, “President Trump betrayed his oath of office by seeking to undermine our constitutional process, and he bears responsibility for inciting the insurrection we suffered last week.”
Earlier in the day, Cheney — the third-highest ranking GOP member of the House and a daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney — came under fire from her party’s Freedom Caucus in response to her Tuesday statement supporting the impeachment effort.
A petition being circulated among the 44-person conservative bloc calls on her to resign as chair of the House Republican Conference, saying her “personal position on issues does not reflect that of the majority of the Republican Conference and has brought the Conference into disrepute and produced discord.”
Several House Democrats — including Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland), who delivered the closing argument for his party — quoted from Cheney’s statement during Wednesday’s proceeding.
The article of impeachment against Trump accuses him of “inciting violence against the government of the United States” ahead of last week’s storming of the Capitol by supporters he addressed during a rally near the White House.
The riot led to five deaths, including that of a Capitol Police officer who was hit in the head with a fire extinguisher.
Trump was impeached by the House in December 2019 on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress over allegations he tried to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to announce investigations that would boost his campaign against President-elect Joe Biden.
But the Republican-controlled Senate acquitted Trump in February, with US Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) casting the lone GOP vote against him, on just the abuse of power count.
Only two other US presidents have also been impeached — Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998 — but neither was convicted.
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