Wed. Jan 20th, 2021

The US House of Representatives has impeached President Donald Trump for “incitement of insurrection” at last week’s Capitol riot, making him the first US leader to be impeached twice by Congress.

Ten Republicans sided with Democrats to impeach the president by 232-197.

Mr Trump, a Republican, will now face a trial in the Senate, where if convicted he could face being barred from ever holding office again.

But it is unlikely Mr Trump will have to quit the White House before his term in office ends in one week, as the Senate is not expected to convene in time.

Mr Trump will leave office on 20 January, following his election defeat last November to Democrat Joe Biden.

The Democratic-controlled House voted after several hours of impassioned debate on Wednesday.

The article of impeachment stated that Mr Trump “repeatedly issued false statements asserting that the presidential election results were fraudulent and should not be accepted”.

It says he then repeated these claims and “willfully made statements to the crowd that encouraged and foreseeably resulted in lawless action at the Capitol”, leading to the violence and loss of life.

“President 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 coequal branch of government.”

Impeachment sets up a Senate trial for Mr Trump that now appears destined to stretch into the early days of Joe Biden’s presidency, creating yet another challenge for the incoming president. It also will stoke an ongoing debate among Republicans over the direction their party takes in the days ahead.

A two-thirds majority is needed to convict Mr Trump, meaning at least 17 Republicans would have to vote with Democrats in the evenly split, 100-seat upper chamber.

As many as 20 Senate Republicans are open to convicting the president, the New York Times reported on Tuesday.

If Mr Trump is convicted by the Senate, lawmakers could hold another vote to block him from running for elected office again – which he has indicated he planned to do in 2024.

But the trial will not come immediately. The Senate may not reconvene until 19 January, according to a spokesman for Republican majority leader Mitch McConnell.

Mr McConnell also said on Wednesday that he has not made a final decision on how he will vote. “I intend to listen to the legal arguments when they are presented to the Senate.” (With additional reports by BBC)

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