Outgoing President Donald Trump has reached a milestone no other U.S. President has achieved, leaving some are wondering how it didn’t happen faster.
Trump has become the first U.S. President to have been impeached by the House of Representatives twice after a group of bipartisan House members voted in favor of impeachment. The House had more than enough votes to impeach Trump for inciting the storm on the Capitol last week that left five people dead.
Unlike the first time Trump was impeached last year, several Republicans joined this effort. The official vote was passed largely along party lines, by 232-197. Republicans Liz Cheney (WY), John Katko (N.Y.), Adam Kinzinger (Ill.), Fred Upton (MI), Jaime Herrera Beutler and Dan Newhouse (WA), Peter Meijer (MI), and Anthony Gonzalez (OH) all voted for impeachment this time.
“He threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power, and imperiled a coequal branch of Government. He thereby betrayed his trust as President, to manifest injury of the people of the United States,” the House’s charging document stated.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi told outgoing Vice President Mike Pence last weekend that if he didn’t invoke the 25th amendment to remove Trump she would have him impeached again. Despite Pence being a target of Trump’s rage on the day of the storm, Pence refused, leaving Pelosi with no choice.
Pelosi opened debate on the House floor Wednesday, arguing the country cannot risk leaving the president in power. “He must go. He is a clear and present danger to the nation we all love,” Pelosi said.
Despite some Republican support, the vast majority of the GOP opposed the effort saying Trump finishing his last week was the right thing to do and voting for impeachment will further divide the country.
Once the House sends the impeachment article to the Senate, which Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, (D-Md) said would happen immediately, the Senate can start a trial. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that wouldn’t start before Jan 19, a day before trump leaves office.
While it is highly unlikely Trump is removed from office, the Senate could bar him from running again in 2024 and take away perks given to former presidents such as a lifetime security detail.