President Donald Trump has been impeached for the second time by the US House of Representatives, on charges of “incitement of insurrection” at last week’s Capitol riot.
Ten of the Donald Trump’s Republicans sided with the Democrats to impeach the president by 232-197. This makes Donald Trump, the first president in the US history to be impeached twice.
However, Trumps trial in the Senate will not happen until after Joe Biden, a Democrat, is inaugurated as the new US president next week.
The vote was carried out on Wednesday in a Democratic-controlled House after two hours of impassioned debate with armed National Guard troops keeping continuous watch inside and outside the Capitol.
Meanwhile, FBI has also warned that all 59 US stare capitals face armed protests ahead of Mr Biden’s inauguration on 20 January.
Congress had accused Trump of inciting the attack on the capitol with a speech on January 6, which led to a rally outside the White House, Trump had urged his supporters to “peacefully and patriotically” make their voices heard, but also to “fight like hell” against the November-election, which he claimed was false and had been stolen.
After his remarks, Trumps’ supporters broke into the Capitol, which forced lawmakers to suspend certification of election results and take shelter. The building was also placed on lockdown and five people died during the process.
The article of impeachment stated that Mr Trump “repeatedly issued false statements asserting that the presidential election results were fraudulent and should not be accepted”, adding that “President Trump gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of government, threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power, and imperilled a coequal branch of government”.
In a video statement released after the vote in Congress on Wednesday, Trump called on his supporters to remain peaceful and did not mention the impeachment vote.
He said, “Mob violence goes against everything I believe in and everything our movement stands for. No true supporter of mine could ever endorse political violence. No true supporter of mine could ever disrespect law and order”.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, said on the House floor before the vote, “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.”
After the vote, the speaker singed the article of impeachment before it is sent to the Senate and said that she did it “sadly, with a heart broken over what this means to our country.”
What will happen now?
The impeachment article will now head to the Senate, where a trial will be held to determine the president’s guilt. A two-thirds majority is needed to convict Donald Trump, which means at minimum, 17 Republicans would have to vote with Democrats in the evenly split, 100-seat upper chamber.
Earlier New York Times reported that around 20 Senate Republicans are ready to convict the president. If the Senate convicts Trump, another vote could be held by the lawmakers to block him from running again for the office.
However, the trial will begin after Mr Trump’s remaining week in the office. In this regard, the Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell said, “Given the rules, procedures, and Senate precedents that govern presidential impeachment trials, there is simply no chance that a fair or serious trial could conclude before President-elect Biden is sworn in next week.”
He added, “It would best serve the interests of the nation if Congress focused on a safe and orderly transition of power for the incoming Biden administration.”