House votes to impeach Trump a second time

With 8 days left in office, Trump becomes the first president in history to be impeached twice


Via House of Representatives government-run television network

Members of the U.S. House of Representatives convened on Wednesday to vote on a second set of articles of impeachment against President Trump. The resolution passed, meaning the articles will be given to the Senate, where the higher chamber will hold trial for the president.

Kyle Hawley, Managing Editor

On Wednesday, Jan. 13, the Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives voted to adopt a new set of articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.

The House voted 232 to 197 to impeach President Trump again. The vote was mostly along party lines, but 10 Republicans did vote in support of the second impeachment trials, including Rep. Liz Cheney, the sole representative from Wyoming and the party’s conference chairwoman. This move comes after the president was accused of complicity in inciting the deadly, abrupt siege of the U.S. Capitol last Wednesday afternoon.

The storming of the Capitol came after the Save America Rally, an event where thousands of Americans came to the nation’s capital to demand that members of Congress hold off on the certification of the electoral count until all investigations of fraudulent voting are thoroughly completed. Over the past few months, President Trump bitterly took to social media and the public stage, pleading with his supporters to fight the election results due to his belief that the Democrats rigged it in Joe Biden’s favor.

“Despite the fact there is no hard, credible evidence to support the president’s theory of election meddling, his supporters had every right to assemble in Washington D.C. to protest…whatever they were protesting,” said senior Caroline Lucia, a member of the Committee on Raising Student Voices. “However, the minute they trespassed and went into the Capitol acting like barbarians, they lost their First Amendment right to assemble.” Lucia identifies as conservative.

Many Americans have blamed the president for encouraging his mob to enter the legislative building and physically prevent the joint session of Congress from certifying Joe Biden as the 46th president of the United States. Not only was Trump silent about the whole ordeal for the first hour, but sources from the White House leaked that he stopped any attempt for the National Guard to intervene until the second hour.

“This was a clear coup and abuse of power,” senior Kyra Bolden said. “Donald Trump’s arrogance and sense of fascism is forbidding himself from leaving the presidency. He would rather destroy democracy than admit he lost this election or give up power.”

Accusing Trump of attempting a coup d’etat and inciting violence against lawmakers, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi declared he must be removed from office for treason and violence. Many citizens do not understand how Trump’s role in the events on Wednesday could be impeachable offenses, but there is actually no clear definition of what a president can be impeached for.

“Article II, Section IV of the US Constitution is rather vague,” AP Government teacher Karen McNamara said. “It just says the president can be impeached and removed from office for ‘conviction of, treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors.’ Therefore, it is entirely up to a majority of the House of Representatives to decide if Trump’s role will be considered an impeachable offense.”

Unlike during the Ukrainian scandal, Speaker Pelosi is advocating for Vice President Mike Pence and a majority of the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment. Impeachment is not her preferred method of removal.

In recent days, Trump’s followers have accused the vice president of betraying the party and administration for his refusal to reject the presidential election certification—even though there is nowhere in law that says the vice president has the power to do so.

Pence was present in the House chamber on Wednesday to fulfill his constitutional duty to oversee the certification of the electoral college results. As the mob of Trump supporters entered the Capitol, video footage shows rioters chanting “Hang Mike Pence” and calling him a “traitor.” He and Pelosi were deemed enemies of the rally, and there is evidence that the protestors wanted them executed. Reports from the White House claim that Trump and Pence have not talked since Wednesday before the rioting.

On Sunday, Pelosi announced that Pence had 24 hours to invoke the 25th Amendment or the House would move forward with their sole article of impeachment. However, on Monday, Jan. 11, House Republicans blocked a formal measure calling on the vice president and Cabinet to remove him from office. The measure, which would have pressured Pence into invoking the 25th, needed unanimous consent in the committee, but it was ultimately blocked by Rep. Alex Mooney (R-W.Va). This automatically forced the House to hold a floor-wide vote. Mooney’s blockage of the measure came at the same time Quinnipiac University released a poll revealing that a majority of Trump voters say the mob who stormed the Capitol were attempting to undermine democracy rather than protecting it.

Among registered voters, 62% of Trump voters said the protestors were undermining democracy, while 19% declared they were protecting it. The other 19% had no opinion. Even though they disagree with the rioters’ methods, 84%of Trump voters said they believe there were significant voter irregularities and widespread voter fraud.

Last night, on Jan. 10, the House voted to pressure Pence into invoking the 25th Amendment. Although congressional pressure is merely a symbolic gesture, the vice president wrote to Speaker Pelosi declaring he will not be invoking his special powers.

“The articles can get passed by the House this week, but they do not have to make it through the Senate while Trump is still in office,” McNamara said. “The Senate can wait and hold the trial during the Biden administration. The major thing that this could do would be to prevent Trump from holding public office again in the future ,preventing him from running in 2024. Other implications of an impeachment might be more symbolic—but just because something is symbolic doesn’t make it any less important.”

President-Elect Biden wants the Senate to conduct impeachment hearings during his first 100 days in office. The New York Times reported in a call with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Biden is in favor of President Trump’s impeachment and hopes he will be the first president to face legal consequences from the procedure. However, he does not want it disrupting his Cabinet confirmation process or Covid relief packages. This call follows announcements from multiple Republican senators stating they are in favor of his removal or conviction.

“Several members of the GOP have shown interest in removing Trump from office—Senators Lisa Murkowski and Pat Toomey have both said they want Trump removed from office. Sen. Ben Sasse also said he would be open to removing him from office,” McNamara said.

Hours before the House voted upon this resolution, McConnell delivered a message to his fellow GOP colleagues stating “I have not made a final decision on how I will vote and I intend to listen to the legal arguments when they are presented to the Senate.”

This note added speculation that McConnell, once believed to be a Trump loyalist, will vote in favor of his conviction for his role in the Capitol siege. Reports and rumors indicated that the Republican leader believes impeaching the president will make it easier to erase Trumpism from the party’s platform. Contrary to McConnell’s thoughts, Trump loyalists in the Senate believe this will do more dividing than uniting, a platform Biden has been advocating for during his transition into the White House.

McConnell is refusing to reconvene the Senate before Trump’s departure from the Oval Office, meaning the impeachment trials will be oversought by the newly-elected Democrat Senate.

Democrats took control of the Senate on Jan. 6, holding both chambers in Congress. While it is a crisp 50-50 split between Republicans and Democrats, Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris gives the Democrats a one-vote advantage in the Senate. The Senate needs a two-thirds majority vote, or 67 senators, in order to convict Trump, meaning 17 Republicans will need to go rogue for the Democrats to secure the conviction.

Onto the Senate the articles go.