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Trump Becomes Only President To Be Impeached Twice, This Time For 'Incitement Of Insurrection'

President Donald Trump
President Donald Trump Photo Credit: White House

Donald John Trump is now the only president in U.S. history to be impeached twice by the House of Representatives.

On Wednesday, Jan. 13 - just a week before the inauguration of president-elect Joe Biden and a week after the deadly pro-Trump riot at the Capitol building - the U.S. House voted to impeach Trump, a Republican, by a margin of 232-197 on one charge of incitement of insurrection.

The vote was bipartisan. All 222 Democrats voted to impeach while 10 Republicans also did so, including GOP Conference Chair Liz Cheney of Wyoming, daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney. 

Liz Cheney said of Trump in a statement, “There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.”

The impeachment resolution was in direct reaction to the  Wednesday, Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol by a mob of insurgents, dozens of whom have been apprehended and sent to jail. 

The mayhem resulted in five deaths - including a police officer - and dozens of injuries.

It was the first time the Capitol building was violently breached since the War of 1812. 

Members of Congress and staff sheltered in place while rioters looted and vandalized the Capitol Building.

The first time the House impeached Trump was in December 2019 over the Trump-Ukraine scandal.

Now that the House has voted to impeach Trump, the measure will move on to the Senate when Speaker Nancy Pelosi decides to send it - which could be before or after Biden is sworn into office.

It is unlikely Trump will be removed from office, however, as it will take the vote of the Senate to do so and a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he will not recall the Senate until Tuesday, Jan. 19 - one day before Biden's inauguration.

The House is also seeking to prohibit him from holding any elected office in the future, which would require a simple Senate majority vote, unlike the impeachment resolution, which would require a two-thirds majority. 

Charges against Trump

The article of impeachment against Trump sites the events of the Jan. 6 riot when the Capitol Building was stormed in an attempt to stop Congressional certification of Biden’s election to the presidency. Insurgents delayed the vote, but Congress reconvened later the same day to certify Biden’s win.

With its vote to impeach, the House found the following to be true:

  • Trump repeatedly issued false statements asserting that the presidential election results were the product of widespread fraud and should not be accepted.
  • Shortly before Congress’ certification of the presidential election results on Jan. 6, Trump addressed a Washington, D.C., crowd and encouraged insurrection with statements that included “if you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore.”
  • These actions, among others, led to the “unlawful breach and vandalization of the Capitol, injured and killed law enforcement personnel, menaced members of Congress, the Vice President, and Congressional personnel, and engaged in other violent, deadly, destructive, and seditious acts.”
  • Trump called the Georgia Secretary of State on Jan. 2 in an effort to overturn the state’s election results in his favor.
  • 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 imperiled a branch of government.”

“He thereby betrayed his trust as president, to the manifest injury of the people of the United States,” the article of impeachment said.

Past impeachments

The first time Trump was impeached by the House was in December 2019 over his abuse of power in the Trump-Ukraine scandal. 

A House hearing prompted by news reports found that Trump withheld hundreds of millions of dollars for Ukrainian defense to pressure Ukraine into assisting with dubious investigations into Democrats including Joe Biden and his son Hunter. The Senate, which had a Republican majority, acquitted Trump in February 2020.

Trump is not the first president to be impeached, but he is the first to be impeached twice. Bill Clinton was impeached by the House - and acquitted by the Senate - in 1998; Andrew Johnson was impeached - and was acquitted by the Senate - in 1868.

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