WASHINGTON – The U. S. House of Representatives in a 232 to 197 vote has impeached President Donald J. Trump for the second time- two days shy of the one year mark. The action by the House Wednesday afternoon makes Trump the only American president to have been impeached twice.
The article of impeachment introduced in a resolution on Monday by three House Democrats: Jamie Raskin of Maryland, Ted Lieu of California and David Cicilline of Rhode Island. cites “incitement of insurrection” noting that the president;
“[…] threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power, and imperiled a coequal branch of government,” the five-page article of impeachment also points out that Trump. “[…] thereby betrayed his trust as president, to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.”
The resolution for impeachment also calls out Trump’s phone call earlier this month to Georgia Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensberger in an attempt to overturn the presidential election results in that State. The president implied that there would be a threat of criminal prosecution if Georgia’s officials did not reverse the outcome of the vote. Trump also falsely claimed that there was massive election fraud in the state’s elections process.
“It is my somber responsibility to sign the Article of Impeachment against President Trump passed in a bipartisan vote by the House of Representatives a short time ago,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi just after the vote. Pelosi briefly spoke prior to signing the Article of Impeachment calling it a sad day for America.
Bereft of his Twitter megaphone/bully pulpit Trump will face a more difficult time in garnering a more robust support from his base, many of who participated in the siege of the U. S. Capitol Building last Wednesday and who also are being targeted and arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for numerous federal crimes as a result of their actions on the Hill a week ago.
Trump has lost support from key Congressional allies including the number three Republican minority leader in the House, Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney and the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell who The New York Times reported Tuesday that had privately voiced support for the Democrats’ move to impeach Trump, and his office did not issue a statement denying the report. There were 10 House Republicans who voted with Democrats to impeach the president.
In a letter issued Wednesday to his Senate Republican colleagues, the Majority Leader wrote that; “While the press has been full of speculation, I have not made a final decision on how I will vote and I intend to listen to the legal arguments when they are presented to the Senate.”
However, there is still support for the president with the top House Republican, Kevin McCarthy of California during the debate saying that “impeaching the president in such a short time frame would be a mistake”
“No investigations have been completed. No hearings have been held,” he added. “A vote to impeach will further fan the flames of partisan division.” McCarthy did state that the president needed to accept his share of responsibility for the riot, and he said a congressional censure would be in order.
The Senate is scheduled to return on January 19, the day before the inaugural ceremonies for President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. It will be at that time the Senate will take up the scheduling of a trial and hearing of the Article of Impeachment.
The Senate will switch hands on January 20 as the Biden Administration is sworn in and Vice President Harris will be the presiding officer in the Senate giving the Democrats the majority. A conviction however, will still require a two-thirds vote of the entire body.
Trump also lacks aggressive defense from his White House and allies, as sources have said the building has become a ‘ghost town’ as the administration winds down its final days.
The President has remained defiant even as he addressed the public in a YouTube video on Wednesday after the House voted to impeach him for a second time. He closed the video going after the Democrats for what he termed an “attack on the First Amendment” and attempts to “censor, cancel or blacklist” people.
“The president is trying to gaslight the country again. He’s lying to the country again, trying to rewrite history, trying to reimagine reality so his base, […] But no question about it, his advisers and his lawyers have been pleading with him, have been begging him to turn down the rhetoric, to tone down his language, and to come out and condemn violence. He does that in this video, but of course, this is like the arsonist-in-chief saying only you can prevent forest fires.”
“Toward the end of this video, he is throwing out red meat to his base, talking about being canceled on social media and so on. So even when he’s given the opportunity to tamp things down, to say the right things […]
“This is once again the president like a rat trapped in a cage, desperately trying to do anything to bang his way out of the mess that he’s gotten himself into, and he can’t do it this time,” Acosta added. “It’s over. He has betrayed this country, and he’s being held responsible for it.”
Late Wednesday evening, the President-elect Joe Biden issued a statement on the House impeachment vote from his home in Wilmington, Delaware:
Last week, we saw an unprecedented assault on our democracy. It was unlike anything we have witnessed in the 244-year history of our nation.
A violent attack on the United States Capitol itself. On the people’s representatives. On police officers who every day risk their lives to protect them. And on fellow citizens who serve as public servants in that Citadel of Liberty.
Windows and doors were destroyed. Offices ransacked. A Capitol Hill police officer was murdered. Another lost his life a few days later. Four other people died in the senseless mayhem of that day.
This criminal attack was planned and coordinated. It was carried out by political extremists and domestic terrorists, who were incited to this violence by President Trump.
It was an armed insurrection against the United States of America. And those responsible must be held accountable.
Today, the members of the House of Representatives exercised the power granted to them under our Constitution and voted to impeach and hold the president accountable. It was a bipartisan vote cast by members who followed the Constitution and their conscience. The process continues to the Senate.
This nation also remains in the grip of a deadly virus and a reeling economy. I hope that the Senate leadership will find a way to deal with their Constitutional responsibilities on impeachment while also working on the other urgent business of this nation.
From confirmations to key posts such as Secretaries for Homeland Security, State, Defense, Treasury, and Director of National Intelligence, to getting our vaccine program on track, and to getting our economy going again. Too many of our fellow Americans have suffered for too long over the past year to delay this urgent work.
I have often said that there is nothing we can’t do, if we do it together. And it has never been more critical for us to stand together as a nation than right now.
So we must remember who we are as Americans and what we stand for and believe.
It’s time for us to be what at our best we have always been.
The United States of America.