Washington: A week after a pro-Trump mob stormed the US Capitol in a violent bid to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s election victory, President Donald Trump has been impeached for a second time by the House of Representatives, which is a first in US history.
On the single article of impeachment – incitement of insurrection — the vote in favor was 232-197. Ten Republicans broke ranks and voted to impeach Trump on a day when the debate moved at lightning speed, much of it charged by the bipartisan anger at the scale of the January 6 violence which apparently targeted Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Mike Pence in particular.
Trump continued to refuse to accept the results of the US 2020 election and remained largely silent after he incited thousands of his supporters to march to the Capitol and “stop the steal”. He has also decided not to attend Biden’s inauguration on January 20, nor has he called him up to congratulate, as is the tradition.
Trump was first impeached by the House in 2019 over his dealings with Ukraine. That time every single House Republican voted against impeachment. But this time the ‘vote of confidence’ statement by Liz Cheney, No 3 Republican in the House, and ‘Trump is to blame to some extent’ argument by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy led to 10 desertions.
The impeachment trial will now move to the US Senate which last time under Mitch McConnell had acquitted Trump. The Senate now is at 50:50, with Vice President Kamala Harris’ tie breaking vote. It will need 17 Republican Senators besides all Democrats to convict Trump after he is no more President.