Outgoing US President Donald Trump was impeached for a historic second time by the US Congress, this time on charges of "inciting insurrection". The move comes on the back of the storming of the US Capitol by Trump supporters who claimed election fraud and a conspiracy to unseat the president.
The timeline of events:
January 6, 2021: Thousands of angry supporters of Trump rioted inside the US Capitol and clashed with police, resulting in casualty and multiple injuries and interrupting a Constitutional process to affirm Joe Biden's victory in the presidential election. Trump had constantly alleged that the election was being stolen from him and that voter fraud was the reason. The violence followed a Trump speech which urged his supporters to march to the Capitol in a show of strength.
January 11, 2021: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi introduces articles of impeachment, while the US Congress accused Trump of inciting a riot at Capitol Hill. While the White House dismissed the move to impeach stating that it would “only serve to further divide our great country”, 160 house Representatives signed the bill drafted by California Representative Ted Lieu of California and Rhode Island Representative David Cicilline.
January 12, 2021: 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.
January 13, 2021: After a two-hour debate, the US Congress voted 232 to 197 in favour of impeachment. "Every moment Donald Trump is in the White House, our nation our freedom is in danger. He must be held to account for the attack on our capitol that he organised and incited. I solemnly urge my colleagues to support this rule and the underlying article," Congressman James McGovern said on floor of US House of Representatives. McGovern brought to the House Floor H. Res. 24, the article of impeachment against Trump. Ten Republicans voted in favour of impeachment.
What comes next: The impeachment article will now move to the Senate, where the Democrats do not have the majority to pull off a successful trial. A two-thirds majority would be needed to convict and remove Trump. This means that at meaning at least 17 Republicans in the 100-member chamber would have to join the Democrats in supporting the motion. 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. The Senate is adjourned till January 19, a day before the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th president of the United States.