The House of Representatives voted 232 to 197 to impeach Trump, exactly a week after rebels forced lawmakers to flee the chamber where they voted the fourth impeachment in U.S. history – and the first time a president was impeached twice. Ten Republicans, including House Republican No. 3, Liz Cheney of Wyoming, joined all Democrats in accusing Trump of inciting rebellion.
Though impeachment is not a Trump to step – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Trump will not be tried before President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in next week – the vote was a ferocious response from lawmakers in both parties, angry at Trump after a pro-Trump mob seized Capitol Police, ransacked the U.S. Capitol and endangered the lives of Vice President Mike Pence and lawmakers last week.
We know that the president of the United States is going to have this rebellion, this armed rebellion against our common country, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said before the vote. He has to go. He is a clear and present danger to the nation we all love.
The speed of the vote and Republican support underscored lawmakers’ anger at Trump’s role in the unrest on Capitol Hill, fueled by months of false rhetoric from Trump about having the election stolen from him. Cheney’s testimony was quoted Wednesday by supporters and opponents of the indictment after she accused Trump of calling the crowd, rallying them and fanning the flames of the attack.
Cheney said there has never been a greater betrayal of the Constitution by the president of the United States and his oath of office.
Congressional minority leader Kevin McCarthy said Wednesday that Trump was responsible for the attack on Congress by the rioting mob and called on the president to take his share of the blame and end the unrest. McCarthy, however, argued that instead of impeachment proceedings, the House of Representatives should appoint a bipartisan committee.
I think it would be a mistake to impeach the president on such short notice, McCarthy said. No investigation has yet been completed. No hearing was held.
The division within the Republican Party is in stark contrast to Trump’s 2019 trial, when Republicans in the House of Representatives united against him. The Republicans, with the exception of Cheney, who voted Wednesday to remove Trump from office were members of the House. John Katko of New York, Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, Fred Upton of Michigan, Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington State, Dan Newhouse of Washington State, Peter Meijer of Michigan, Tom Rice of South Carolina, Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio and David Valadao of California.
In the Senate, McConnell doesn’t plan to stand for re-election until Jan. 19, meaning the process won’t begin until Trump leaves office and Biden is sworn in.
The majority leader said in a statement after the vote that the process could not be completed before Biden’s inauguration, even if it had begun earlier, and he wanted Congress and the executive branch to focus next week on facilitating a safe inauguration and an orderly transfer of power.
In a memo to his GOP colleagues on Wednesday afternoon, McConnell wrote that “I have not yet made a final decision on how I will vote, and I plan to hear legal arguments when they are presented to the Senate.
McConnell said he thinks Trump’s impeachment would make it easier to get rid of the president and the Republican Party’s Trumpped-up agenda, sources said Tuesday. McConnell faces a delicate balance – some of his GOP colleagues have made it clear they oppose impeachment, and the Kentucky Republican, according to a source familiar with the matter, dislikes anything that divides his conference.
But the source says McConnell is also aware of the historic moment – and the moment for the Republican Party. McConnell’s choice against Trump was obvious to those who followed him closely. He broke off contact with Trump a few weeks ago and made it clear he never wanted to speak to him again.
For House Democrats, the divisions that divided their caucus in 2019 over impeachment simply did not materialize. Democrats were quick to agree, using impeachment proceedings in the final days of Mr. Trump’s presidency as an appropriate response to the president’s behavior and as a means of securing his removal before the end of his term, although this scenario seems unlikely.
Pence sent a letter Tuesday saying he will not try to focus on the 25th Amendment. The constitutional amendment, as requested by Democrats, and Trump was not considering resigning.
Pelosi brushed off Republican efforts to take other measures, such as imposing penalties, in response to Trump’s role in the unrest. On Tuesday night, she appointed the prosecutors, a team of nine Democrats to be led by Congressman Jamie Raskin of Maryland, in anticipation of a likely trial shortly after Biden is sworn in. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said Tuesday that the House would immediately send the items to the Senate.
Democrats have become more determined in their quest to blame Trump for the unrest as more and more information has come to light about the Capitol Hill attack, including violent footage of attacks on Capitol Hill police officers and the death of a Capitol Police officer. Wednesday’s vote took place as thousands of National Guard soldiers were present in every corner of the Capitol complex ahead of next week’s inauguration and slept on the floor of the Capitol building the night before the impeachment vote.
Trump showed no remorse for his role in last week’s Capitol uprising and spoke out against the charges Tuesday in his first public appearance since the incident. A source close to the president said he had no intention of resigning.
This has been analyzed, Trump said last week of his remarks to the crowd before the riots. People thought what I said was perfectly reasonable.
Mr Trump, who was unable to post his thoughts on Twitter after his account was permanently suspended due to the turmoil, issued a statement shortly before Wednesday’s vote: In the light of the reports on the new demonstrations, I urge us not to resort to violence, not to break the law and not to engage in vandalism of any kind. That’s not what I stand for, and that’s not what America stands for. I ask ALL Americans to help ease tensions and calm minds.
Wednesday’s impeachment vote will complicate the early days of the Biden administration, both in its efforts to reach out to Republicans and because the Senate will likely be tied up in the proceedings by the time Biden takes office.
Both Biden and Schumer argued that the Senate would try to divide its days during the process so it could confirm Biden’s nominees and review the Covid-19 stimulus bill as it goes through the impeachment process.
This story was updated Wednesday with additional events.
CNN’s Danielle Diaz, Kristin Wilson, Donald Judd, Sarah Fortinsky, Pamela Brown and Jim Acosta contributed to this report.