A majority of the U.S. House of Representatives has voted to impeach President Donald Trump on one charge of inciting an insurrection, involving an attack on the U.S. Capitol by a group of his supporters.
This makes Trump the only president in history to have been impeached twice.
The bipartisan vote
The day before, despite a successful vote in the House calling on him to do so, Vice President Mike Pence refused to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office.
This paved the way for the impeachment vote in the House.
On Jan. 14 (Singapore time), 222 Democrats, all the members of the party, voted in favour of impeachment.
But ten Republicans voted alongside their Democratic colleagues to impeach their own party's president, including:
- Liz Cheney, Wyoming.
- Adam Kinzinger, Illinois.
- Fred Upton, Michigan.
- Dan Newhouse, Washington.
- John Katko, New York.
- Jamie Herrera Beutler, Washington.
- Peter Meijer, Michigan.
- David Valadao, California.
- Anthony Gonzalez, Ohio.
- Tom Rice, South Carolina.
197 representatives voted against impeachment.
Back in 2019, not a single Republican in the House voted for impeachment.
During the three-hour-long impeachment debate, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi of California said the attackers were "sent by the president" with a cry to "fight like hell".
She asked Democrats and Republicans to "search their souls" and ask themselves if they had a duty to take action against a president she described as a "threat".
"We here in this House have a sacred obligation to stand for truth. To stand up for the Constitution, to stand as guardians of the Republic," she said.
Arguments made by Democrats and Republicans during the debate
Democrat Cedric Richmond of Louisiana mentioned Trump's history of inciting violence, including asking the extremist Proud Boys group to "stand back and stand by" during an election debate with Joe Biden.
Democrat Jamie Raskin of Maryland reminded the House that the Trump supporters were "hunting" for Pelosi and Vice President Mike Pence, but any member in Congress could have died.
Democrat Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, the House Majority Whip, said that the House must hold Trump's actions accountable, and pointed out that Joe Biden and Al Gore had previously certified election results of the Republicans they opposed, and democracy relies on the defeated party accepting the result of an election.
Republican Jim Jordan of Ohio railed against what he saw as a political move, and said that the impeachment effort was an example of "cancel culture".
Republican Tom McClintock of California said that Trump had asked his supporters to "peacefully and patriotically" make their voices heard, and said that Trump could not be held responsible for the violent actions of the "lunatic fringe".
Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California condemned the violent acts, and added that Trump bears responsibility for not immediately "denouncing the mob" when he saw what was happening, but said a vote to impeach would worsen divisions in the country.
The next step would be for the U.S. Senate to hold a trial, although Republican Senator Mitch McConnell has indicated he would not bring the Senate back into session until Jan. 19.
Only two other presidents in history have been impeached by the House, in addition to Trump in 2019:
- Bill Clinton in 1998 for perjury and obstruction of justice.
- Andrew Johnson in 1868, for violating the Tenure of Office Act, among other charges.
Both were not removed from office by the Senate.
Impeachment proceedings were brought against Richard Nixon in 1974 in connection to the Watergate Scandal, but he resigned from office before the House could take a vote.
Top image from Getty Images.