DONALD Trump has become the first ever US president to be impeached twice after the House of Representatives voted to remove him from office today in a historic development that saw 10 members of his Republican Party break ranks and vote with the Democrats.
After an extensive three hour plenary session, 232 members of the House voted to impeach the president, with 197 members voting to support President Trump. There were five abstentions in the session which voted in a single motion of President Trump being charged with incitement to insurrection.
President Trump’s impeachment came following his interference in the 2020 presidential election in Georgia and his incitement of a deadly riot that involved the storming of the Capitol Hill, the Congressional building in Washington DC by his supporters on January 6. Now, the matter will go to the Senate where the president can be formally removed from office.
However, the senate is in recess until January 19, meaning that it will not be able to impeach the president until after he has formally left office on January 20. Yesterday, the House of Representatives voted in favour of a call for vice president Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment, which would enable to cabinet to remove the president for being unfit to fulfil his duties.
When Mr Pence declined to do this, the House of Representatives decided to proceed with the impeachment vote. It is unclear how the vote will go in the senate as republican senate leader Mitch McConnell is sitting on the fence, saying that he will study the article submitted before deciding on how to vote.
Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic speaker of the House of Representatives, said: “The president of the United States incited this insurrection, this armed rebellion, against our common country. He must go as he is a clear and present danger to the nation that we all love.”
Among the Republicans who voted to impeach President Trump was Liz Cheney, the third ranking party member in the House. Ms Cheney, 54, represents Wyoming and is the House Republican Conference chair.
If President Trump gets removed from office by the senate, it could also pass a resolution barring him from holding public office again. This might appeal to Republicans as it would enable them to sideline him within the party and prevent him running for president again in 2024.