The nation is watching today (January 13) as the US House of Representatives is expected to vote to impeach Donald Trump for a second time.
Trump was impeached by the House 13 months ago, this time, however, House Republicans are expected to back the impeachment.
Congress moved forward with impeaching Trump after his supporters carried out a deadly attack at the US Capitol on January 6.
The single article of impeachment, which specifically cites “incitement of insurrection,” will be debated on the House floor on Wednesday (January 13) morning.
It states: “President Trump gravely endangered the security of the United State and its institutions of Government. He threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power, and imperiled a coequal branch of Government. He thereby betrayed his trust as President, to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.”
The House Judiciary committee released a report on Tuesday (January 12) that described Trump as an “imminent threat,” adding “his continued presence in office is a clear and present danger to the United States.”
What Congress Is Actually Doing Today
The actual process of impeachment includes first setting rules of debate, agreeing on a two-hour time limit, split equally between Democrats and Republicans.
Once that’s agreed upon, the debate on the article of impeachment begins, with a lawmaker from each party selected as a debate manager. For Democrats, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi selected a group of nine representatives to serve as impeachment managers. They are: Rep. Jamie Raskin (Maryland); Rep. Diana DeGette (Colorado); Rep. David Cicilline (Rhode Island); Joaquin Castro (Texas); Eric Swalwell (California); Ted Lieu (California); Del. Stacey Plaskett (Virgin Islands); Rep. Joe Neguse (Colorado); Rep. Madeleine Dean (Pennsylvania).
A lead manager for Republicans is unclear, per NPR, because not all in the party agree with the impeachment in the first place. Number Three House Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, came out on Tuesday (January 12) that she’ll be voting to impeach Trump. In her announcement for support for impeachment, Cheney said, "There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States and his office and his oath to the Constitution." Liz Cheney is the daughter of Republican former Vice President Dick Cheney.
Following the vote, if it passes, House Speaker Pelosi will have to give the impeachment resolution to the US Senate where a trial will have to take place. The Senate is adjourned until January 19, but the soon-to-be Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is reportedly finding avenues to call an emergency session, but the current Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will have to agree to it.
Some lawmakers are concerned about starting Joe Biden’s term with an impeachment trial, especially with the pandemic and its economic fallout, but many want to hold Trump accountable for his actions that led to a domestic terrorism attack.
The Debate Is Over, Now What?
After nearly three and a half hours of debate, House representatives began casting their votes just after 3:00 p.m. During the debate, seven House Republicans vowed to vote in favor of impeaching Trump.
In her passionate testimony, Missouri Rep. Cori Bush called Trump a "white supremacist president" who needed to be removed. A chorus of Republicans said the move to impeach Trump is being "rushed," adding that Democrats were showing a "double standard," in an attempt to compare the protests against police violence last year with the insurrection seen last week.
Given the events of last week and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, House security measures have increased significantly. House Reps. who have licensed firearms have to keep them in their offices and fines are in place for people who don’t want to masks may face a fine.
Actual voting on the article of impeachment, which is expected to last 15 minutes, will be staggered to allow for social distancing. Members will vote in small groups, final results will be tallied after each member is casts their ballot.
The House reached 217 votes around 4:23 p.m., securing enough votes to formally impeach Donald Trump for a second time. Ten Republicans voted in favor of impeaching the president.
Photo: Getty Images