The US Congress on Wednesday impeached President Donald Trump for "inciting violence" at the US Capitol. The votes stood 232 to 197 in favour of impeachment. Ten Republican Congressmen voted in favour of an article of impeachment on Wednesday that charged Trump with a count of "incitement of insurrection" for his actions on January 6, when he delivered a speech inciting his supporters to storm the US Capitol, an action that temporarily halted the counting of electoral college votes and resulted in the deaths of five individuals.
Trump is now the only president in US history to be impeached twice. The hearing will now carry forward on to the Senate, where a two-thirds majority (or support from 17 Republicans) would be needed to convict Trump. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has not yet announced the dates for the trial. In a statement, he said a trial is unlikely before Biden becomes the president of the country.
10 Republican representatives, including top dog Liz Cheney and Jaime Herrera voted in favour of Trump impeachment. Four Congressmen did not vote in the impeachment headcount.
Before proceeding with impeachment, the House pressed Vice President Mike Pence and the cabinet to remove Trump more quickly and surely, warning that he is a threat to democracy in the few remaining days of his presidency.
The Congress approved a resolution late Tuesday calling on Pence and the cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment to the Constitution to declare the president unable to serve. Pence, who was among those forced to take shelter inside the Capitol complex during the attack, said before the vote that he would take no such action, leaving lawmakers with impeachment as their only option to remove Trump from office before January 20, when president-elect Joe Biden is set to be sworn in as president.
The impeachment now moves to the Senate, which will conduct a trial and a voting to remove the president from office. The Senate is adjourned till January 19, a day before the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th president of the United States.
"We know that the president of the United States incited this insurrection, this armed rebellion, against our common country. He must go," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, participating in the impeachment debate. "He is a clear and present danger to the nation that we all love. Since the presidential election in November, an election the president lost, he has repeatedly lied about the outcome, sowed self-serving doubt about democracy and unconstitutionally sought to influence state officials to repeal reality. And then came that day of fire we all experienced," she said.
Pelosi asserted that the president must be impeached. "I believe the president must be convicted by the Senate, a constitutional remedy that will ensure that the republic will be safe from this man who is so resolutely determined to tear down the things that we hold dear and that hold us together," she added.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said the actions of the president of the United States demanded an urgent and clear action by the Congress. "He ought to be removed. And we have that opportunity to do so. Is there little time left? Yes. But it is never too late to do the right thing," Hoyer said.
-Inputs from agencies