President Donald Trump was impeached by the U.S. House for a historic second time Wednesday, charged with “incitement of insurrection” over the deadly mob siege of the Capitol in a swift and stunning collapse of his final days in office.
With the Capitol secured by armed National Guard troops inside and out, the House voted 232-197 to impeach Trump.
The proceedings moved at lightning speed, with lawmakers voting just one week after violent pro-Trump loyalists stormed the U.S. Capitol, egged on by the president’s calls for them to “fight like hell” against the election results.
Trump is the first president in United States history to be impeached twice.
Following the announcement the sitting president released a video where he didn’t directly acknowledge the impeachment, but did make calls for peace and eased tensions in the country.
Regarding the capitol riots last week, Trump says he “unequivocally condemns” the violence that occurred.
“Mob violence goes against everything I believe in, no true supporter of mine could ever endorse political violence. If you do any of these things you are not supporting our movement, you are attacking it.”
In what was likely a response to his Twitter banning, the president criticized what he calls an “assault” on free speech in the United States. The social media platform indefinitely suspended Trump’s account last week.
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) January 13, 2021
During the debate before the impeachment vote, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi asked Republicans and Democrats to “search their souls.” Trump would be the first American president to be impeached twice.
Trump “must go,” Pelosi said. “He is a clear and present danger to the nation we all love.”
Trump has taken no responsibility for the riot.
Actual removal seems unlikely before the Jan. 20 inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.
A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Republican leader would not agree to bring the chamber back immediately, all but ensuring a Senate trial could not begin at least until Jan. 19.
Still, McConnell did not rule out voting to convict Trump in the event of a trial. In a note to his fellow Republican senators just before the House was to begin voting, he said he is undecided.
The impeachment proceedings came one week after a violent, pro-Trump mob breached the U.S. Capitol, sending lawmakers into hiding and revealing the fragility of the nation’s history of peaceful transfers of power.
Trump was first impeached by the House in 2019 over his dealings with Ukraine, but the Senate voted in 2020 acquit. None has been convicted by the Senate, but Republicans said Wednesday that could change in the rapidly shifting political environment as officeholders, donors, big business and others peel away from the defeated president.
Inside the Capitol this morning where Speaker Pelosi usually walks to her office. pic.twitter.com/BQIEf5b2s4
— Erin Schaff (@erinschaff) January 13, 2021
Security was exceptionally tight at the Capitol with shocking images of massed National Guard troops, secure perimeters around the complex, and metal-detector screenings required for lawmakers entering the House chamber.
A Capitol Police officer died from injuries suffered in the riot, and police shot and killed a woman during the siege. Three other people died in what authorities said were medical emergencies.
The riot delayed the tally of Electoral College votes which was the last step in finalizing Biden’s victory.