The United States House of Representatives on Wednesday impeached outgoing President Donald Trump for his role in inciting the violence at the Capitol in Washington DC on January 7, CNN reported. He is the first US President to be impeached twice.
The House voted 232 to 197 to impeach Trump for the “incitement of insurrection”. Ten Republicans also joined the Democrats to vote for the impeachment.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, however, said that Trump’s impeachment trial won’t happen before his four-year term ends and Democratic President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated on January 20. If the Senate convicts Trump, the lawmakers might conduct another vote to stop him from running for office ever, according to BBC.
Republican Representative Liz Cheney said that Trump “summoned this mob, assembled the mob and lit the flame of this attack”, according to CNN. “There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, on the other hand, called for the creation of a bipartisan commission instead of impeachment. ”I believe impeaching the President in such a short timeframe would be a mistake,” he said. “No investigations have been completed. No hearings have been held.”
He, however, held Trump responsible for the Capitol violence and urged him to calm the “brewing unrest”.
The impeachment vote took place amid tight security, with the armed National Guard troops keeping watch outside the Capitol building. The debate before the vote lasted for several hours.
The Democrats had moved to impeach Trump in 2019 too, for pressuring the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to dig up political dirt on Biden. He was, however, acquitted by the Senate, where the Republican Party had the majority.
So far, no US president has been removed from office through impeachment. Apart from Trump, Bill Clinton in 1998 and Andrew Johnson in 1868 were previously impeached by the House but acquitted by the Senate.
‘No one is above the law,’ says House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that Trump was a clear danger to the country and he must go, according to BBC. “The president of the United States incited this insurrection, this armed rebellion against our common country,” she said.
“Today, in a bipartisan way, the House demonstrated that no one is above the law, not even the president of the United States,” she added, according to ABC News.
Biden, meanwhile, said he hoped that then Senate will be able to fulfill its regular responsibilities while handling the impeachment trial, CNN reported. He, however, did not clarify his position on Trump’s impeachment.
“This nation also remains in the grip of a deadly virus and a reeling economy,” Biden was quoted as saying by the news network. “I hope that the Senate leadership will find a way to deal with their Constitutional responsibilities on impeachment while also working on the other urgent business of this nation.”
‘I unequivocally condemn violence,’ says Trump
Trump, in a video released after the impeachment vote, urged his supporters to remain peaceful. He made no mention of the impeachment or his role in the violence.
“I unequivocally condemn the violence that we saw last week,” Trump said in the video shared by the White House on Twitter. “Violence and vandalism have absolutely no place in our country and no place in our movement. “
Trump added that “no true supporter” of his could have indulged in the violence. He also hit out social media platforms for banning him, calling it an “unprecedented assault” on free speech.
US Capitol violence
On January 7, hundreds of supporters of Trump stormed the Capitol complex in Washington DC, and clashed with the police as members of the Congress met to certify the results of the 2020 presidential elections, which Biden won. Five people died in the violence. At least 68 were arrested.
The incident triggered shock across the world. Several White House officials tendered resignations following the incident, while the demands for Trump’s removal from the top office grew.
After the violence however, Trump conceded defeat to Biden. For months, he peddled election conspiracy theories and claimed that the presidential poll had been rigged.