WASHINGTON – The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to impeach President Donald Trump for his encouragement to supporters who stormed the U.S. Capitol, a vote that would make him the first U.S. president to be impeached twice.
While the previous three indictments – those of Presidents Andrew Johnson, Bill Clinton and Trump – took months before a final vote, including inquiries and hearings, this time it only took a week. After the riots on Capitol Hill, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said “we have to act,” and Democrats – and some Republicans – are sharing her point ahead of Wednesday’s vote.
For now, the Republican-led Senate is not expected to hold a trial and vote on whether to convict Trump before Democrat Joe Biden takes the oath as president on January 20. the country.
A look at what will happen as the House draws closer to Trump’s impeachment in his final week in office:
THE BASICS OF IMPAIRMENT
In the normal order, there would be an impeachment inquiry and the evidence would be sent to the House Judiciary Committee, which would hold hearings, draft articles, and send them to the plenary chamber. This is what happened in 2019, when the House impeached Trump for his dealings with the Ukrainian president. It took three months.
This time, with so few days to act – and the feeling among Democrats that there is little need to investigate what happened, since most members of Congress have heard Trump speak to his supporters and were on Capitol Hill when the crowd broke in – impeachment goes straight to the House for a vote, which would take place as early as Wednesday.
Once the House votes for impeachment, the papers and evidence would be sent to the Senate, where a trial would take place and there would be final votes to convict or acquit. This is what the Senate did in early February last year after Trump’s first impeachment.
Democrats will begin the debate Wednesday on a single impeachment charge: “incitement to insurgency.”
“President Trump has seriously endangered the security of the United States and its government institutions,” read the four-page impeachment article, which was presented by Democratic representatives. David Cicilline from Rhode Island, Ted Lieu from California and Jamie Raskin from Maryland.
“He will remain a threat to national security, democracy and the Constitution if he is allowed to remain in office,” it read.
The article says the behavior is consistent with Trump’s previous efforts to “subvert and obstruct” election results and refers to his recent appeal with Georgia’s Secretary of State, in which he said he wanted that he finds more voice after losing the state. in Biden.
Trump falsely claimed there was widespread election fraud, and these baseless claims have been repeated over and over again by Republicans in Congress and insurgents who have descended on Capitol Hill. Right before the riots, Trump spoke to supporters near the White House and urged them to “fight like hell.”
As rioters erupted, both houses debated GOP challenges to Arizona’s electoral vote count as part of Biden’s electoral victory certification process.
Five Republicans said on Tuesday they would support impeachment. No Republican backed Trump’s first impeachment in 2019.
Republican Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the third House Republican and daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, said she would vote to impeach Trump because “there has never been a greater betrayal of the part of a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution. ”
Cheney said Trump “summoned” the crowd that attacked the Capitol last week, “gathered the crowd and lit the flame of this attack.”
New York Representative John Katko was the first Republican to say he would vote for impeachment. A former federal prosecutor, he said he did not make the decision lightly.
“Allowing the President of the United States to incite this harmless attack is a direct threat to the future of our democracy,” Katko said. “I can’t just sit there and do nothing. ”
Representatives Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, Fred Upton of Michigan and Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington also said they would vote for impeachment.
SEND TO THE SENATE
Once the House passes the articles, Pelosi can decide when to send them to the Senate. According to the current schedule, the Senate is not ready to resume full sessions until January 19, the day before Biden’s inauguration.
Some Democrats have suggested Pelosi could wait to send the articles and allow Biden to begin his term without impeachment hanging over him. But many other Democrats urged Pelosi to act immediately.
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, who will be in charge once Biden is sworn in, suggested in a letter to colleagues on Tuesday that the chamber could split its time between confirming Biden’s candidates, approving the help with COVID and the conduct of the trial.
If the trial does not take place before Trump is already removed from office, it could still have the effect of preventing him from running for president again.
Biden said it was important to make sure that “the people who have engaged in sedition and threatening life, degrading public property, have done great damage – that they are held accountable.”
It is unlikely, at this time, that enough Republicans will vote to condemn, as two-thirds of the Senate is needed. Yet some Republicans have told Trump to step down, including Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey and Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, and few are defending him.
Republican Senator Ben Sasse has said he will consider what the House approves, but stopped before committing to backing it.
Other Republicans have said the impeachment will be divisive. South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, long a key ally of the president, criticized his behavior in inciting riots, but said impeachment “would do far more harm than good.”
Only one Republican voted to condemn Trump last year – Utah Senator Mitt Romney.
WHAT WILL IMPEACHELY MEAN
Democrats say they must move forward, even if the Senate does not condemn.
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders tweeted Friday that some people might wonder why they would try to remove a president with only a few days left in office.
“The answer: previous,” he said. “It must be clear that no president, neither now nor in the future, can lead an insurgency against the US government. ”