The House voted Wednesday to impeach President Donald Trump for a second time in a swift and bipartisan condemnation of the President’s role inciting last week’s riot at the US Capitol.
The House voted 232 to 197 to impeach Trump exactly one week after rioters forced lawmakers to flee
from the very chamber in which they cast ballots in the fourth presidential impeachment in US history —
and the first time a President has been impeached twice. Ten Republicans, including the House’s No. 3
Republican, Liz Cheney of Wyoming, joined all Democrats to impeach Trump for “incitement of
While impeachment won’t force Trump from office — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said
Trump won’t face his trial until after President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in next week — the vote was a
visceral response from lawmakers in both parties furious at Trump after a deadly pro-Trump mob
overran Capitol Police, ransacked the US Capitol and put the lives of Vice President Mike Pence and
lawmakers in danger last week.
“We know that the President of the United States incited this insurrection, this armed rebellion against
our common country,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on the House floor ahead of the vote. “He
must go. He is a clear and present danger to the nation that we all love.”
The speed of the vote and the Republican support underscores the fury that lawmakers feel about
Trump’s role inciting the rioters who overtook the Capitol, who were fueled by Trump’s months of false
rhetoric about the election being stolen from him. Cheney’s statement was cited by impeachment
supporters and detractors alike Wednesday after she charged that Trump “summoned this mob,
assembled the mob and lit the flame of this attack.”
“There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to
the Constitution,” Cheney said.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Wednesday that Trump “bears responsibility for
Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters,” urging the President to accept his share of
responsibility and “quell the brewing unrest.” McCarthy, however, argued the House should create a
bipartisan commission instead of impeachment.
“I believe impeaching the President in such a short timeframe would be a mistake,” McCarthy said. “No
investigations have been completed. No hearings have been held.”
The division within the Republican Party starkly contrasts the House Democrats’ 2019 impeachment of
Trump, when House Republicans were united in opposition. The Republicans besides Cheney voting to
impeach Trump on Wednesday were Reps. John Katko of New York, Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, Fred
Upton of Michigan, Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington, Dan Newhouse of Washington, Peter Meijer of
Michigan, Tom Rice of South Carolina, Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio and David Valadao of California.
Rice, a Republican from a conservative district who was not expected to vote for impeachment, said in a
statement after the vote that it was the President’s response to the riot that led him to cross the aisle.
“The President has not addressed the nation to ask for calm. He has not visited the injured and grieving.
He has not offered condolences. Yesterday in a press briefing at the border, he said his comments were
‘perfectly appropriate,'” Rice said.
“I have backed this President through thick and thin for four years. I campaigned for him and voted for
him twice. But, this utter failure is inexcusable,” the South Carolina Republican added.
In the Senate, McConnell is not planning to bring the Senate back for a trial before January 19, meaning
the trial won’t begin until Trump is out of office and Biden has been sworn in.
The majority leader said in a statement following the vote that a trial could not be completed ahead of
Biden’s inauguration even if it started beforehand, and he wanted Congress and the executive branch to
spend the next week focused on “facilitating a safe inauguration and an orderly transfer of power.”
In a note to his GOP colleagues Wednesday afternoon, McConnell wrote, “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
McConnell has indicated he believes impeaching Trump will make it easier to get rid of the President
and Trumpism from the Republican Party, sources said Tuesday. McConnell is facing a delicate balance
— a number of his GOP colleagues have made clear they oppose impeachment and the Kentucky
Republican famously loathes anything that divides his conference, according to a source familiar with
But the source says McConnell is also keenly aware of the moment in history — and the moment for the
Republican Party. McConnell’s shift against Trump has been apparent for those watching him closely.
He cut off contact with Trump weeks ago and has made clear he has no plans ever to speak to him
For House Democrats, the disagreements that divided their caucus on impeachment in 2019 simply
never materialized. Democrats quickly coalesced around using impeachment in the final days of
Trump’s presidency to serve as a proper response to the President’s conduct and as a way to push for
his removal from office before the end of his term, although that scenario looks unlikely.
Pence sent a letter Tuesdaysaying he would not seek to invoke the 25th Amendment as Democrats had
urged, and Trump is not considering resigning.
Pelosi has brushed aside Republican efforts to take a different action, such as censure, in response to
Trump’s role in the riot. She named impeachment managers on Tuesday evening, a team of nine
Democrats who will be led by Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, ahead of a likely trial not long after Biden
is sworn in. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said late Tuesday the House would send the articles to
the Senate immediately.
Democrats have only grown more resolute in their push to impeach Trump over the riot as more
information has come out about the attack on the Capitol, including violent images of Capitol Police
officers being attacked, and the death of a Capitol Police officer. Wednesday’s vote occurred while
thousands of National Guard troops were present every nook of the Capitol complex ahead of next
week’s inauguration, and they slept on the floors of the Capitol building the night before the
Trump has showed no contrition for his role in last week’s Capitol riot, railing against impeachment on
Tuesday in his first public remarks since the incident. A source close to the President said he’s not
“It’s been analyzed,” Trump said of his remarks last week to the crowd before the riots. “People thought
what I said was totally appropriate.”
Trump, unable to post his thoughts on Twitter after his account was permanently suspended in the
fallout from the riots, released a statement just before Wednesday’s vote saying, “In light of reports of
more demonstrations, I urge that there must be NO violence, NO lawbreaking and NO vandalism of any
kind. That is not what I stand for, and it is not what America stands for. I call on ALL Americans to help
ease tensions and calm tempers.”
Wednesday’s impeachment vote will complicate the opening days of the Biden administration, both in
his efforts to reach out to Republicans and because the Senate is likely to be tied up with a trial just as
Biden is taking office.
Both Biden and Schumer have argued that the Senate will try to divide its days while conducting the
trial, so the Senate can confirm Biden’s nominees and consider Covid-19 stimulus legislation while also
carrying out the impeachment trial.( CNN / IM )