Jan 14, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Capitol assault only one reason Trump impeached

A television in the White House briefing room shows the near-final second impeachment vote against President Trump.

A television in the White House briefing room shows the near-final impeachment vote against President Trump. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump didn't earn his historic second impeachment just by inciting a riot on a single day. He laid its foundation event by event during the two months preceding it.

Why it matters: Uneasiness built to rage among some Republicans as the president challenged the election results, blocked important legislative accomplishments and cost the party its hold on the Senate.

  • Trump turned on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — who loyally defended him for four years — for recognizing Joe Biden as president-elect. The Senate majority leader did it only after the Electoral College ratified his win.
  • The president threatened to shut down the government over the holidays by demanding $2,000 stimulus checks, setting McConnell’s caucus upon itself.
  • Those same senators also had to override Trump’s veto of a massive annual defense spending bill after he demanded they eliminate a social media regulation unrelated to national security.
  • Along the way, the president spent more time attacking GOP officials in Georgia than Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, the two Democrats whose wins cost the Republicans their Senate majority.
  • The pot-stirring culminated in Trump’s mafioso-style phone call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, during which the president asked him to "find" a winning margin of votes.
  • The last straw was the insurrection at the Capitol, which followed the president's inflammatory speech to a pro-Trump rally.

The end result was another impeachment. Ten House Republicans, many of whom relied on Trump to get elected, voted with the Democrats.

  • Given the swelling support for impeachment among Republicans, including McConnell, Trump could make history again by becoming the first president to be convicted by the Senate after leaving office.
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