On Monday, Democrats introduced an article of impeachment, titled “Incitement of Insurrection,” that charged Trump with having “engaged in high Crimes and Misdemeanors by inciting violence against the Government of the United States.” Today he was impeached. What happens next?
A week before he is set to leave office, Trump became the first American president impeached by the House twice.
The article cited his repeated false claims of fraud and his comments to his supporters Wednesday, including an assertion that “if you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore,” which ended up in the deadly riot on Capitol Hill.
“He threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power, and imperiled a coequal branch of Government. He thereby betrayed his trust as President, to manifest injury of the people of the United States,” the House’s document says.
The chamber today charged him with high crimes and misdemeanors for inciting an insurrection at Capitol Hill last week in a 232-197 vote, as all Democrats and 10 Republicans backed the measure.
But even if the Senate chooses to convict him, Congress likely will not have enough time to push the president out of office before next week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, said after the House vote that the upper chamber would not start the trial until “our first regular meeting following receipt of the article from the House,” which would be Tuesday at the earliest.
“Even if the Senate process were to begin this week and move promptly, no final verdict would be reached until after President Trump had left office,” McConnell said in a statement Wednesday. “This is not a decision I am making; it is a fact.”
Democrats had already urged Vice President Mike Pence and the Cabinet to start the faster process of removing Trump through the 25th Amendment, but Pence refused.
Once the House sends the impeachment article to the Senate, the upper chamber has to quickly start a trial and it then would vote on whether to convict Trump.
The timeline means the impeachment proceedings will drag into Biden’s term.