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Majority of House members vote for 2nd impeachment of Trump

House votes to impeach

UPDATE 1:30 p.m.

A majority of the U.S. House has voted to impeach President Donald Trump for a second time, just a week after he encouraged loyalists to “fight like hell” against election results — a speech that was followed by a mob of his supporters storming the U.S. Capitol. The House vote on an article of impeachment for “incitement of insurrection” was still underway Wednesday afternoon.

During debate before the vote, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi asked Republicans and Democrats to “search their souls." Trump would be the first American president to be impeached twice.

Trump “must go,” Pelosi said. “He is a clear and present danger to the nation we all love.”

Actual removal seems unlikely before the Jan. 20 inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden. A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Republican leader would not agree to bring the chamber back immediately, all but ensuring a Senate trial could not begin at least until Jan. 19.

Still, McConnell did not rule out voting to convict Trump in the event of a trial. In a note to his fellow Republican senators just before the House was to begin voting, he said he is undecided.

“While the press has been full of speculation, I have not made a final decision on how I will vote and I intend to listen to the legal arguments when they are presented to the Senate," McConnell wrote.


ORIGINAL 10:20 a.m.

U.S. President Donald Trump is on the verge of being impeached for a second time in a fast-moving House vote, just a week after he encouraged loyalists to “fight like hell” against election results and then a mob of supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol.

“We are debating this historic measure at a crime scene,” said Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass.

Security was exceptionally tight Wednesday, shocking images of National Guard troops massed at the iconic Capitol, with secure perimeters around the complex and metal-detector screenings required for lawmakers entering the House chamber.

While Trump's first impeachment in 2019 brought no Republican votes in the House, a small but significant number of leaders and lawmakers are breaking with the party to join Democrats, saying Trump violated his oath to protect and defend U.S. democracy.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell believes Trump committed impeachable offences and considers Democrats’ impeachment drive an opportunity to reduce the divisive, chaotic president’s hold on the GOP, a Republican strategist told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

McConnell also called major Republican donors this weekend to gauge their thinking about Trump and was adamantly told that Trump had clearly crossed a line. McConnell told them he was through with Trump, said the strategist, who demanded anonymity to describe McConnell’s conversations.

The New York Times first reported McConnell’s views on impeachment on Tuesday.

The stunning collapse of Trump's final days in office, along with warnings of more violence ahead, leaves the nation at an uneasy and unfamiliar juncture before Democrat Joe Biden is inaugurated Jan. 20.

Trump, who would become the only U.S. president twice impeached, faces a single charge of “incitement of insurrection.”

The four-page impeachment resolution relies on Trump’s own incendiary rhetoric and the falsehoods he spread about Biden’s election victory, including at a White House rally on the day of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, in making its case for “high crimes and misdemeanours” as demanded in the Constitution.

Trump took no responsibility for the riot, suggesting it was the drive to oust him rather than his actions around the bloody 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.

A Capitol police officer died from injuries suffered in the riot, and police shot and killed a woman during the siege. Three other people died in what authorities said were medical emergencies. Lawmakers scrambled for safety and hid as rioters took control of the Capitol, delaying by hours the tally of Electoral College votes that was the last step in finalizing Biden's victory.

The outgoing president offered no condolences for those dead or injured, only saying, “I want no violence.”

At least five 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.

“The President of the United States summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack,” said Cheney in a statement. “There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.”

Cheney's father was the vice-president under President George W. Bush and a Republican leader in the House. “She knows of what she speaks,” said Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the Democratic majority leader.

Unlike a year ago, Trump faces impeachment as a weakened leader, having lost his own reelection as well as the Senate Republican majority.

The president was said to be livid with perceived disloyalty from McConnell and Cheney, as calls mounted for her ouster. He was also deeply frustrated that he could not hit back with his shuttered Twitter account, the fear of which has kept most Republicans in line for years, according to White House officials and Republicans close to the West Wing who weren’t authorized to speak publicly about private conversations.

The team around Trump has hollowed out, without any plan for combating the impeachment effort. Trump leaned on Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina to push Republican senators, while chief of staff Mark Meadows called some of his former colleagues on the Hill.

Yet Trump and his allies believed that the president’s sturdy popularity with the GOP lawmakers’ constituents would prevent most from voting against him. After the riot at the Capitol, most House Republicans did go on that night to vote to overturn the election results.

Trump was expected to watch much of Wednesday's proceedings on TV from the White House residence and his private dining area off the Oval Office.



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