Trump IMPEACHED again!
The US House of Representatives has impeached President Donald Trump for “incitement of insurrection” at last week’s Capitol riot.
He is the first president in US history to be twice impeached – to be charged with crimes by Congress.
Trump, a Republican, will now face a trial in the Senate, where if convicted he could face being barred from ever holding office again.
The impeachment measure passed largely along party lines.
Trump is due to leave office on 20 January, following his election defeat last November to Democrat Joe Biden.
After several hours of impassioned debate on Wednesday, the Democratic-controlled House voted.
Six Republicans said beforehand they would side with Democrats to impeach the president. But the majority of conservatives remained loyal to Trump.
But it is unlikely Trump will have to leave the White House before his term in office ends in one week as the Senate was not expected to convene in time.
Last week, 139 Republicans voted against accepting the result of the 2020 election and Trump’s defeat.
What was Trump charged with?
Impeachment charges are political, not criminal. The president was accused by Congress of inciting the storming of the Capitol with his 6 January speech to a rally outside the White House.
Following Trump’s remarks, his supporters broke into the Capitol, forcing lawmakers to suspend certification of election results and take shelter. The building was placed on lockdown and five people died.
The article of impeachment stated that 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.”
What happens next?
The impeachment article will head to the Senate, which will hold a trial to determine the president’s guilt.
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 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.”
Impeachment: The basics
What is impeachment?
Impeachment is when a sitting president is charged with crimes. In this case, President Trump is accused of inciting insurrection by encouraging his supporters to storm the Capitol
Could Trump be removed from office?
A simple majority of the House of Representatives is enough to impeach him – but to remove him from office, he then needs to be convicted of those charges by the Senate, where a two-thirds majority required for conviction is not guaranteed
So what does it mean?
This is the second time Mr Trump will have been impeached, and even though a trial could begin after his term ends, a conviction could mean he is barred from holding public office again.