WASHINGTON – The U.S. House of Representatives has voted to impeach President Donald Trump on a charge of “incitement of insurrection.”
Wednesday’s vote was the second time Trump has been impeached during his single term in office.
The internal Senate discussions were unfolding as the Democratic-controlled House debated impeaching the President for his role in last week’s siege of the U.S. Capitol, when Trump supporters breached the building’s security, sent lawmakers fleeing and left five dead in their wake, including a police officer.
Trump faced a single charge of “incitement of insurrection.” Trump is the only U.S. President to be twice impeached. National Guard troops and police provided security at the Capitol.
Under the U.S. Constitution, impeachment in the House triggers a trial in the Senate on whether to oust the president. Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had previously suggested no trial could begin until the Senate was scheduled to be back in regular session on Jan. 19, only a day before Trump’s term ends and Democratic President-elect Joe Biden is due to be sworn in.
Democrats, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, have pressured McConnell to agree to bring the Senate back under emergency circumstances to take up Trump’s impeachment before he leaves office.
But a spokesperson confirmed on Twitter Wednesday a Washington Post report that McConnell had informed Schumer he is not willing to bring the chamber into emergency session to consider removing Trump from office following House impeachment.
While the first impeachment of Trump last year brought no Republican votes in the House, a small but significant number of leaders and other lawmakers are breaking with the party to join Democrats on Wednesday.
At least six Republican lawmakers, including third-ranking House GOP leader Liz Cheney of Wyoming, were unswayed by the president’s logic. The Republicans announced they would vote to impeach Trump, cleaving the Republican leadership, and the party itself.
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 violent 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.