US House votes on second Trump impeachment

The US House of Representatives is voting Wednesday on whether to impeach President Donald Trump over his role in the 6 January attack on the US Capitol. House Democrats introduced a single article of impeachment for "incitement of insurrection" on Monday.

The Democratic-majority House is widely expected to pass the impeachment resolution but it is likely to be voted down next week in the Senate, which requires a two-thirds majority to impeach. Although some Senate Republicans have said they would vote to impeach Trump after the events of 6 January, support for the measure is expected to fall short of the 67 senators needed.

If the House votes to impeach, Trump will become the only US president in history to have been impeached twice.

Democratic lawmakers allege that Trump incited the mob that eventually entered and ransacked the Capitol building. In a speech at a so-called Save America rally earlier that day, Trump repeated unfounded claims of election fraud and told the crowd he would "never concede" the 2020 election. He urged supporters to go to the Capitol to support Republican lawmakers who had vowed to challenge Biden's win.

“Now it is up to Congress to confront this egregious assault on our democracy,” Trump told the crowd, pledging to join them as they “walk down to the Capitol” (although he did not). “Because you'll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength and you have to be strong.”

Trump supporters fought with Capitol Police and then forced their way into the building, breaking windows and scaling the outside walls. Several officers were wounded and the National Guards of several nearby US states were mobilised to provide support. Five people died in the unrest, including a woman who was shot by Capitol Police and a police officer who was beaten by rioters.

The third-ranking Republican in the House, Liz Cheney, announced Tuesday she would vote to impeach. “There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution,” she said in a statement about the US Capitol attack. At least five other House Republicans have also said they would vote for impeachment, including Representative John Katko of New York, Fred Upton of Michigan, Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington, Adam Kinzinger of Illinois and Dan Newhouse of Washington.

Votes, which typically last 15 minutes, are now extended because social distancing guidelines require lawmakers to stagger voting in groups to cut down on too many people congregating on the floor.

It's unclear how quickly Pelosi will transmit the impeachment resolution to the Senate after it passes the House. The Senate is not scheduled to be in session until Jan. 19, the day before Biden is sworn in as the 46th president of the United States.

On Wednesday, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's spokesperson confirmed that McConnell would not consent to reconvening the Senate early for a trial — a possibility that incoming Majority Leader Chuck Schumer had been exploring. Without agreement between McConnell and Schumer, the expected impeachment trial will almost certainly begin after Trump leaves office.

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