House Votes 232 - 197
The US House of Representatives voted in favour of impeaching president Trump last night. The final vote came in at 232 – 197 in favour of impeachment, with ten members of Trump’s own party voting against him. Not only is Trump the only president to face impeachment twice but this second impeachment will also be recorded as the most bipartisan impeachment in US history. Among those in the Republican party who voted in favour of impeachment was Liz Cheney who is the No.3 House Republican and daughter of former VP dick Cheney. In a statement issued this week, Cheney said of Trump’s involvement in the Capitol Hill riots that there had “never been a greater betrayal by a president of the United States”.
Trump Endangered Security of the US
The article of impeachment asserts that Trump "repeatedly issued false statements asserting that the presidential election results were fraudulent and should not be accepted". Trump then "wilfully made statements to the crowd that encouraged and foreseeably resulted in lawless action at the Capitol". Finally the article claims "President Trump gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of government, threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power, and imperilled a coequal branch of government."
Senate To Vote
On the back of the vote, the House wanted to have the article of impeachment immediately moved to the Senate for a final vote. However, Senate majority leader mitch McConnell blocked the move and said there was “simply no chance” of such a vote taking place ahead of the transition date on January 20th. Despite the victory in the House of Representatives, it is not clear yet whether impeachment will succeed in the Senate where Democrats would need a further 7 Republicans on top of the 10 they already have, to vote in favour of impeachment. If impeachment is approved in the Senate, however, democrats would then only need a simple majority in a subsequent vote to ban Trump from ever running for office again.
Will McConnell Turn on Trump?
One potential path to securing impeachment for Trump would be if Mitch McConnell decides to vote against Trump. McConnell told the New York Times that he felt Trump had committed impeachable offences. As Washington’s most powerful republican, if McConnell put his weight behind impeachment, that could be enough to persuade others to join him.
In response to news of the impeachment vote, Trump released a vide statement yesterday evening where he made a firmer attempt to distance himself from the violence and from his supporters who carried out the attack on Capitol Hill. In the video, Trump also called for calm ahead of Biden’s inauguration, saying: "Today I am calling on all Americans to overcome the passions of the moment, and join together as one American people." Despite the more conciliatory tone, Trump’s message has been called too little too late as the country now awaits the Senate vote.
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