Donald Trump became the first president in US history to be impeached twice when 10 of his fellow Republican Congressmen joined Democrats in the House of Representatives to charge him with “inciting an unprecedented insurrection” at the US Capitol last week.
In a bipartisan vote, the Democratic-controlled House on Wednesday impeached Trump by 232 to 197 votes, exactly one week after pro-Trump rioters forced lawmakers to flee from the very chamber in which they cast ballots in during the fourth presidential impeachment in US history.
Ten Republicans, including the House’s No. 3 Republican, Liz Cheney, joined all Democrats to impeach 74-year-old Trump for “incitement of insurrection” for his actions on January 6, when he delivered a speech “inciting” his supporters to storm the US Capitol.
The violence temporarily halted the counting of Electoral College votes and resulted in the deaths of five individuals, including a police officer.
Trump will now face a trial in the Senate, where if convicted he could face being barred from ever holding office again. The Senate is adjourned till January 19, a day before the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States.
All four Indian-American Democratic House members – Ami Bera, Ro Khanna, Raja Krishnamoorthi and Pramila Jayapal – voted in favour of the impeachment.
The House went ahead with the move after Vice President Mike Pence on Tuesday refused to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office.
Trump will not have to quit the White House before his term ends as the Senate is out of regular session.
The House voted after several hours of impassioned debate as National Guard troops kept watch inside and outside the Capitol.
“We know that the President of the United States incited this insurrection, this armed rebellion, against our common country. He must go,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, participating in the impeachment debate.
“He is a clear and present danger to the nation that we all love,” the top Democrat said.
“I believe the President must be convicted by the Senate, a constitutional remedy that will ensure that the republic will be safe from this man who is so resolutely determined to tear down the things that we hold dear and that hold us together,” she added.
The article of impeachment stated that Trump “repeatedly issued false statements asserting that the presidential election results were fraudulent and should not be accepted”. It says he then repeated these claims and “wilfully made statements to the crowd that encouraged and foreseeably resulted in lawless action at the Capitol”, leading to the violence and loss of life.