President Donald Trump has been impeached for a historic second time after the House of Representatives secured enough votes to charge him.
A total of 10 Republicans voted against their party and Donald Trump, with the final result being 232 votes to impeach, and 197 against.
He is the first US president to be impeached twice, after he was previously charged over his calls with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Mr Trump has been charged with inciting an insurrection following the deadly riots at the US Capitol on 6 January.
The 10 Republicans who voted for impeachment were: Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio, Peter Meijer of Michigan, Fred Upton of Michigan, Liz Cheney of Wyoming, John Katko of New York, Adam Kinzinger Illinois, Tom Rice of South Carolina, Jamie Herrera Beutler of Washington, Dan Newhouse of Washington and David Valadao of California.
Mitch McConnell, the majority leader of the Senate, has released a statement to say that a ” fair or serious trial” could take place before Joe Biden is sworn in.
He said: “The House of Representatives has voted to impeach the President. The Senate process will
now begin at our first regular meeting following receipt of the article from the House.”
When asked about when the House would send the article of impeachment over to Senate, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said
“The Speaker is talking to Mr. Schumer and will determine that but I am personally urging them to send it over as soon as possible,” he said.
Texas Republican Rep. Chip Roy today condemned President Trump’s conduct as impeachable, but urged lawmakers to reject the article of impeachment drafted by Democratic leadership saying they posed a danger to free speech for lawmakers and Americans.
“The President of the United States deserves universal condemnation for what was clearly, in my opinion, impeachable conduct,” said Roy, speaking from the House floor. “…It was foreseeable and reckless to serve a false belief leading to violence and rioting loyal supporters whipped into a frenzy.”
But Roy then went on to urge his colleagues to reject the article of impeachment under consideration, saying they are “flawed and unsupportable” because impeaching Trump over his rhetoric could pose a danger to free speech for lawmakers.
“If the House approves the articles as written, the language will be used to target members of this body under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, it will used to suggest any statements we make will be subject to review by our colleagues and send us down the perilous path of cleansing political speech in the public square,” said Roy.
“We must end tearing apart our nation by social media and soundbites,” he concluded. “Let us stop. Let us debate. Let us sit down and lead this nation together.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell sent a note to his Republican colleagues this afternoon on impeachment, writing “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.”
Earlier, McConnell rejected calls by Democrats to bring the Senate back immediately to convict President Trump in his final days in office.
McConnell’s office made that clear to Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer’s aides on Wednesday, according to Republican officials.
Chad Wolf, who resigned as Homeland Security acting secretary two days ago, said Wednesday that President Trump bears some responsibility for the events at the US Capitol last week.
“He’s the President. What he says matters,” Wolf told CNN. “People listen to him — particularly supporters of his, I would say, really listen to him — so there is responsibility there.”
However, it is for Congress to determine if it was an impeachable offense, Wolf said. He told CNN there is also personal responsibility for the rioters who entered the Capitol.
Some context: Wolf stepped down as acting secretary on Monday after a government watchdog and federal judges cast doubt on his legitimacy to lead the department, including in a court ruling last Friday blocking Trump administration asylum limits.
He served in an acting capacity for 14 months in the top role, a position that now will be filled by Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Pete Gaynor for the remaining days of the Trump administration.
The day after the attack on the Capitol, Wolf urged Trump and all other elected officials to condemn the violence in a sharply worded statement, while vowing to stay in his position until President-elect Joe Biden takes office.
“I was disappointed that the President didn’t speak out sooner on that. I think he had a role to do that. I think, unfortunately, the administration lost a little bit of the moral high ground on this issue by not coming out sooner on it,” he said Wednesday of condemning the violence.
Wolf told CNN he would like to see more from the President in terms of calling for nonviolent protests.
“[I]f you’re going to protest, you do that in a very nonviolent way. I’d like to have him speak, have him say that and just that,” Wolf said. “And have that be the message that carries the day.”
The fence line securing the US Capitol complex is currently expanding after a small but vocal group of anti-fascist demonstrators approached the barricades.
New eight-foot metal fencing is currently going up on 3rd St. NW. It expands the security perimeter by about 250 yards.
Earlier today, a group of over a dozen protestors marched with large banners to the fence line, chanting and yelling at police with bullhorns.
Capitol police carrying a large number of flexible handcuffs moved quickly to push the demonstrators back to 3rd St. An officer announced on a loudspeaker that the demonstrators were assembled without a permit and needed to leave.
The demonstrators eventually folded their banners and left.
The street is now lined with dozens of officers. Lined behind them for reinforcement are National Guard troops carrying semiautomatic rifles.
After the protesters left, utility vehicles carrying the fencing arrived fencing arrived.
States across the country are increasing security measures at their capitol buildings ahead of what the FBI warned are “armed protests” being planned at all 50 state capitols.
Online chatter about more violent demonstrations “is off the charts right now,” one official told CNN. Facebook has seen online signals indicating the potential for more violence following last week’s insurrection, a company spokesperson said.
Here’s how some states are preparing for potential unrest:
- Multiple state governors are activating the National Guard to secure their capitols – including in Minnesota, Ohio, Washington state, and Wisconsin.
- A number of states are deploying heavy fencing and additional crowd control measures around their capitol buildings – including in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Virginia and Washington state.
- Michigan: The mayor has asked the governor to call up the National Guard to protect the capitol. The AG said yesterday that the state’s new ban on open-carry firearms there is not enough, tweeting: “The state capitol is not safe.”
- Florida: Lawmakers and staff are being told to work from home this weekend because it is “very likely” there will be protesters in Tallahassee on Sunday.
- Virginia: A state of emergency has been declared in Richmond and Capitol Square will be closed ahead of anticipated protests at the state capitol building.
- Wisconsin: Workers at the Capitol in Madison have boarded up their first-floor windows ahead of potential protests.
- New York: State police say they have taken steps “to harden security in and around the State Capitol in Albany” ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.
Multiple layers of security are also in place around the US Capitol as the House debates on impeaching President Trump. Heightened security is also planned for President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20.
Today, National Guard members are surrounding the entire grounds of the Capitol. They were just issued weapons, many of them carrying semi-automatic rifles.