Updated Jan 13, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Trump becomes first president to be impeached twice


Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The House voted 232-197 to impeach President Trump for “incitement of insurrection" after a violent pro-Trump mob breached the U.S. Capitol last week while Congress met to count the Electoral College vote.

Why it matters: Trump is now the only president in history to have been impeached twice — his first impeachment happened just over a year ago in December of 2019. He has just one week left in his term before President-elect Biden is sworn-in on Jan. 20.

  • While Trump's first impeachment was largely along party lines, this vote was bipartisan: 10 House Republicans joined Democrats to impeach the president.
  • Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), who is in GOP leadership, and several other House Republicans had announced earlier that they would vote to impeach Trump. "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.

What's next: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told Republican colleagues today he has "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.” But he will not move to reconvene the Senate before they are scheduled to return on Jan. 19, meaning a trial will take place during the Biden administration.

  • Axios' Mike Allen reports that sources say McConnell sees this fight as his legacy — defending the Senate and the institution against the verbal attack of the president and the literal attack of his followers. As of Tuesday night he was leaning towards convicting Trump, Allen reports.
  • Biden called the impeachment a "bipartisan vote cast by members who followed the Constitution and their conscience," in a statement Wednesday. "I hope that the Senate leadership will find a way to deal with their Constitutional responsibilities on impeachment while also working on the other urgent businesses of this nation," he added, citing the pandemic and economy.
Data: Axios Research, ProPublica; Note: Non-voting members are excluded; Graphic: Michelle McGhee and Sara Wise/Axios
Data: Axios Research, ProPublica; Note: Non-voting members are excluded; Graphic: Michelle McGhee and Sara Wise/Axios

The big picture: After four years of unpredictable behavior and controversial policy, swaths of Republicans have finally begun to turn on Trump after a mob breached the Capitol last week, causing mass evacuations and at least five deaths.

  • Trump encouraged his supporters at the rally on Jan. 6 to march to the Capitol.
  • While he did tell later demonstrators to "go home," Trump also insisted on Twitter: "These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi asked Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th amendment to remove Trump from office before proceeding with impeachment. The House approved a resolution pressuring Pence to do just that.

  • Pence declined. Three Cabinet members who would have been involved in 25th amendment proceedings have also resigned.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with Biden's statement on the impeachment.

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