Donald Trump is set to become the first US president to be twice impeached after Democrats in the House of Representatives officially accused him of “inciting insurgency” over the Capitol.
Five people died in last week’s attack, which Trump instigated when he told his supporters to “fight like hell” in his attempt to reverse Joe Biden’s election defeat.
On Monday, as security officials scrambled to ensure that next week’s inauguration was not marred by the violence linked to the protests planned for the day, Democrats in the House acted quickly.
President Nancy Pelosi, who in an interview on Sunday called Trump a “deranged, deranged and dangerous president,” launched a two-part plan.
An initial resolution called on Vice President Mike Pence to support Trump’s removal under the 25th Amendment.
A clause in the amendment, never invoked before, describes how cabinet members can agree to remove a president under extreme circumstances. Pence, a staunch staunch until the peak of Trump’s efforts to overturn the election, has signaled no intention of joining such a move.
Republicans in the House duly blocked the Democratic resolution.
But it was followed by the introduction of an impeachment article citing “incitement to insurrection”. Trump has been charged with “committing serious crimes and misdemeanors by inciting violence against the United States government” and in doing so violated his oath of office.
The article cited the Fourteenth Amendment prohibiting anyone “engaged in insurgency or rebellion against” the United States from “[ing] any office… in the United States ”.
The House could submit the single article to the prosecution for a midweek vote. With a simple majority vote of sympathetic Democrats and Republicans, Trump would be impeached a second time. But he would not be impeached, which would require a conviction in the Senate.
The Senate is on hold until after the nomination, and Democratic leaders have said they will only proceed with the impeachment after the Biden administration has had time to try to get it confirmed candidates and pass key legislation in its first 100 days.
A small number of Republicans in the Senate and House have joined the Democrats’ efforts to impeach Trump, arguing that even with – or especially with – so little time left in his term, he poses a danger to the country.
But the Senate conviction would be a long blow, as it was the last time the president was impeached. Some Republicans have indicated their support this time around, but a dozen more will be needed to succeed.
Trump was charged with two articles of impeachment in December 2019 and acquitted in February 2020. Senators found him not guilty of abuse of power by 52-48 and not guilty of obstructing Congress by 53-47. Mitt Romney of Utah was the only Republican to vote to convict – on the abuse of power charge.
If Trump were to be convicted after leaving office, he would be banned from running again, as opponents fear this is his plan.
After the attack on the U.S. Capitol, the president retreated from the public eye, banned from Facebook and Twitter, condemned by former allies and vowing not to attend Biden’s January 20 inauguration.
His silence was filled with wholehearted calls from Democrats for his expulsion from office – and the soft loathing of some Republicans. calling for national “unity” after their attempt to overturn the November election, they produced one of the most egregious acts of violence on Capitol Hill in two centuries.
There are now signs that Trump loyalists are planning to march on Capitol Hill again on inauguration day in an event tagged online as the “Million Militia March.”
The FBI arrested dozens of participants in the riots last week and continued to circulate wanted posters of suspects, which could hamper participation in another rally.
But nine days before the inauguration, officials planned to secure the area. Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser has asked the Department of Homeland Security to put new restrictions in place. The Pentagon, the FBI, the Secret Service and other agencies have reportedly been put on alert.
The inauguration will be attended by Barack and Michelle Obama, George and Laura Bush and Bill and Hillary Clinton. Biden, new Vice President Kamala Harris and their families will be joined by former presidents and their families on a visit to Arlington National Cemetery, ABC reported.
Such plans were drawn as the nation struggled to cope with violence over the past week in which five people were killed and dozens injured.
On Monday, Melania Trump issued a largely ridiculous statement in which she paid tribute to all the dead, placing a Capitol policeman who died after confronting rioters next to a rioter who had been shot while trying to force the entrance into the inner sanctuaries of Congress.
The first lady also sought to portray herself as a victim, of what she called “salacious gossip, unjustified personal attacks and deceptive false accusations”.