Posted: Friday, January 15, 2021. 12:24 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: Only days before he is set to leave office, President of the United States Donald Trump is to be tried in the Senate on another charge of misconduct in office; specifically, inciting a mob that stormed Congress last week after he repeated false claims of election fraud, the BBC reports. Five people died as a result.
While he will be out of office, a conviction could lead to a vote to bar him from ever holding any public office again.
The vote to impeach the President in the U.S. House of Representatives, where the Democratic Party has a majority, went 232 to 197 in favour, with ten Republican party members joining the Democrats to formally charge Trump with “incitement of insurrection” for his role in the riot.
Trump rejects the charge but did not mention it in a White House video released after the vote, calling on his supporters to remain peaceful as armed protests are reported planned for Washington and the state capitals in the days leading up to Joe Biden’s inauguration.
In the Senate, where Democrats will hold the majority with a tie-breaking vote, a two-thirds majority is needed for conviction, i.e. 68 of 100 Senators. The New York Times reports that as many as 20 Republicans are open to vote for conviction with 17 needed.
Trump was impeached by the House in 2019 over his dealings with Ukraine, but acquitted by the Senate.
Making the case for impeachment, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, said: “The president of the United States incited this insurrection, this armed rebellion against our common country. He must go. He is a clear and present danger to the nation that we all love.”
Most Republicans did not seek to defend Trump’s rhetoric, instead arguing that the impeachment had bypassed the customary hearings and calling on Democrats to drop it for the sake of national unity. Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said the president “bears responsibility” for the attack but argued that impeachment in a short time frame would be mistaken.
With a sombre and conciliatory tone, Trump said in his video after the vote: “Violence and vandalism have no place in our country… No true supporter of mine would ever endorse political violence.” Meanwhile, Biden said he hoped senators would not neglect the “other urgent business of this nation”, such as approving his cabinet nominees, coronavirus relief and the nationwide vaccination programme.
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