The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday voted to impeach President Donald Trump for inciting the violent mob that breached the U.S. Capitol last week. With less than a week left in his term, Trump now holds the ignoble honor of being the first president to ever be impeached twice.
“He must go,” said Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ahead of Wednesday’s vote. “He is a clear and present danger to the nation that we all love.”
The final vote was 232 to 197 in favor of Trump’s second impeachment. Five Republican representatives didn't cast a vote.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has indicated that he won’t push ahead with starting Trump’s Senate impeachment trial this week. The Senate isn’t scheduled to reconvene until Monday, two days before President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, so there’s slim to no chance of Trump being removed from office at this point.
The idea of a post-presidency Senate conviction has prompted considerable debate among legal scholars since generally the point of a Senate trial and conviction is to remove a president from office and Trump will already be gone, Still, there is precedent for doing this after an elected official's term is over. The Senate could then vote to bar Trump from ever running for elected office again.
In a Wednesday letter to Republican senators, McConnell wrote “I have not made a final decision on how I will vote,” in Trump’s Senate impeachment trial, “and I intend to listen to the legal arguments when they are presented to the Senate.” Earlier this week, the New York Times reported that sources close to McConnell said he was pleased that Trump was about to be impeached again, and thinks it’ll help the GOP isolate Trump and limit his influence within the party going forward.
Local Democratic Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee scorched Trump in a scathing speech ahead of Wednesday’s impeachment vote. “He led an insurrection against the United States of America. The president provoked these domestic terrorists with words, with action and conduct that betrayed and have contempt and hostility to the national value of equal justice under the law,” Jackson Lee said.
All 221 House Democrats voted to impeach Trump, including local representatives Jackson Lee, Lizzie Fletcher, Al Green and Sylvia Garcia. Texas Rep. Joaquin Castro has been chosen by Pelosi to be one of the House impeachment managers who will argue against Trump in the upcoming Senate trial.
Ten Republicans crossed the aisle and voted in favor of impeachment; The most prominent of them was Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney and the third-highest ranking Republican in the House.
All 197 votes against impeachment came from House Republicans, including Houston’s Dan Crenshaw and Fort Bend County's Troy Nehls.
Crensaw tweeted out a joint-statement from himself and fellow Republican House members Chip Roy of Texas, Rep. Nancy Mace of South Carolina and Rep. John Curtis of Utah that criticized Trump for contributing to last week’s riot but opposed impeachment:
We can’t ignore the President’s behavior leading up to the violence in the Capitol last week. He bears enormous responsibility for it. But impeachment is not the answer. We all need to deescalate, lower the temperature, and move forward together as a country.— Dan Crenshaw (@DanCrenshawTX) January 13, 2021
My statement: pic.twitter.com/0j01vhAnr8
Wednesday’s impeachment followed a Tuesday night vote from the Democrat-controlled House to ask Vice President Mike Pence to try and remove Trump from office by invoking the 25th Amendment, which allows for a majority of the president’s cabinet to strip away a president’s power for not being able to fulfill the duties of the office. Pence wrote in a letter to Pelosi Tuesday night that he had no interest in trying to oust his boss.
Among the Texan House representatives, Tuesday’s vote fell along party lines, with all Democrats voting in favor and all but two Texan Republicans voting against the measure. Crenshaw was one of the two Texan Republicans who did not vote Tuesday, and the other was Rep. Kay Granger of Fort Worth, who is home sick with COVID-19.
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