WASHINGTON: A week after a mob riot at the Capitol Hill, United States President Donald Trump was on Wednesday impeached by the House for a historic second time.
Trump was charged with “incitement of insurrection”, in a swift and stunning collapse in his final days at the White House.
The House voted 232-197 to impeach Trump with the Capitol secured by armed National Guards inside and out. Ten Republicans joined the Democrats in calling for accountability of Trump, and warned ominously of a “clear and present danger” if the Congress should leave him unchecked before president-elect Joe Biden assumes on January 20.
Trump is the only US president to be impeached twice and the third to be impeached after Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton.
Trump, the 45th US president, was first impeached by the House of Representatives on December 18, 2019. The House adopted two articles of impeachment against Trump — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The Senate acquitted Trump of the charges on February 5, 2020.
The impeachment inquiry was launched as a response to the Trump-Ukraine scandal, in which Trump and his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani pressed the Ukrainian government repeatedly since May 2019 to investigate Hunter Biden, the son of 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden.
Following the proceedings on Wednesday, Trump released a video “unequivocally condemning” the January 6 violence, but made no mention of his impeachment. “I want to be very clear. I unequivocally condemn the violence that we saw last week. Violence and vandalism have absolutely no place in our country and no place in our movement,” he said. “The incursion of the US Capitol struck at the very heart of our republic. It angered and appalled millions of Americans across the political spectrum. I want to be very clear,” he added.
Trump’s fiery speech at a rally just before the supporters’ riot is at the centre of the impeachment charge against him. At least five people were killed in the violence that ensued as pro-Trump protestors breached barricades and advanced into the halls of the Capitol building, smashing windows and brawling with police officers.
In the process of impeachment, members of the House consider whether to impeach the president, and members of the Senate consider whether to remove him, holding a trial in which senators act as the jury. While the House vote requires only a simple majority of lawmakers to agree the president has committed high crimes and misdemeanors, the Senate vote requires a two-third majority.