WASHINGTON (KFOR) — Following several hours of debate, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to impeach President Donald Trump for a second time during his presidency.
Trump faced a single charge of “incitement of insurrection.”
In light of the vote, Trump became the only U.S. president who has been impeached twice.
Under the U.S. Constitution, impeachment in the House would trigger a trial in the Senate on whether to oust the president.
Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had previously suggested no trial could begin until the Senate was scheduled to be back in regular session on Jan. 19, only a day before Trump’s term ends and Democratic President-elect Joe Biden is due to be sworn in.
Democrats, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, have pressured McConnell to agree to bring the Senate back under emergency circumstances to take up Trump’s impeachment before he leaves office.
But a spokesperson confirmed on Twitter Wednesday a Washington Post report that McConnell had informed Schumer he is not willing to bring the chamber into emergency session to consider removing Trump from office following House impeachment.
While the first impeachment of Trump last year brought no Republican votes in the House, a small but significant number of leaders and other lawmakers broke with the party to join Democrats on Wednesday.
On Wednesday, President Trump released the following statement after learning about more planned demonstrations:
“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. Thank you.”
A Capitol police officer died from injuries suffered in the riot, and police shot and killed a woman during the siege. Three other people died in what authorities said were medical emergencies. Lawmakers had to scramble for safety and hide as rioters took control of the Capitol and delayed by hours the last step in finalizing Biden’s victory.
While some have questioned impeaching the president so close to the end of his term, there is precedent. In 1876, during the Ulysses Grant administration, War Secretary William Belknap was impeached by the House the day he resigned, and the Senate convened a trial months later. He was acquitted.
Representative Kevin Hern (OK-01) released the following statement after voting against H.Res. 24, a resolution to impeach President Donald J. Trump:
“There is not a single member of this House who supports the actions that took place here last week. Those actions are inexcusable. Thousands of Americans came to Washington on January 6th to exercise their right to peacefully protest their government. The overwhelming majority of those present were freedom-loving Americans who took no part in the attack on the Capitol. Those who, instead, came with malicious intent and committed these serious crimes should be identified, apprehended, and prosecuted.Congressman Kevin Hern
While President Trump has less than a week left in his presidency, a Senate trial would likely take place after he has left office. An ex-post-facto impeachment would be nothing more than a fruitless action against a former President and would achieve nothing more than further deepening the divide that has gripped our nation.
Today’s vote also sets a dangerous precedent: this impeachment proceeded with zero investigations and zero hearings. This hasty rush to impeach a sitting President without any investigations should alarm all of us. President-Elect Biden has repeatedly said he seeks to heal this country – it’s time to do just that. However, today’s action did nothing but harden our divisions even further. I stand ready to find bipartisan solutions to the real problems facing our country. Impeaching President Trump from an office he no longer holds is not one of those problems.”
After voting against the Article of Impeachment today, Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-02) released a video calling for the country to come together to move forward.
Congressman Frank Lucas (OK-03) released the following statement after voting No on the articles of impeachment:
“After listening to debate and taking into account the historic precedent that Congress has longed practiced when debating articles of impeachment- be it Presidents, a sitting Cabinet Secretary, or federal Judges- I believe the process demonstrated today in the U.S. House of Representatives will have disastrous constitutional effects and peculate Congress’ power to impeach future office holders. The rush to impeach the President today egregiously forgoes any committee process and is void of any due process. The ultimate blame for last Wednesday’s violent actions lies with those who attacked law enforcement, broke down the doors of the Capitol, and attempted to disrupt our democracy. For generations of Americans to come, I continue to pray we wake up to peaceful days ahead and healing for our Nation.”Congressman Frank Lucas
Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after he voted against H. Res. 24:
“After the terrifying and traumatic attack that took place at the United States Capitol just a week ago, the American people desperately need to see hope and healing on our nation’s horizon. Impeaching President Donald Trump, who has conceded the election and will leave office in a week, is not the answer. Doing so will only worsen divisions nationwide.Congressman Tom Cole
While I realize that emotions are running high and fear is a very real enemy right now, that does not provide cause for the House to abandon the institutional process for bringing the grave matter of impeachment to the floor. Such serious action should only come after fully reviewing and investigating all the facts, engaging expert witnesses and providing due process to the accused. This is necessary to ensure the American people have confidence in the procedures that govern the House now and for generations to come. Moreover, the presidency itself demands due process in impeachment proceedings.
To be clear, the shameful perpetrators of the Capitol siege must and will be held accountable for their crimes and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Indeed, the president must also realize that his words carry meaning and accept responsibility for them. I hope that is a lesson every elected official remembers.”
Congressman Cole also spoke on the House floor during debate.
Representative Stephanie Bice (OK-05) released the following statement regarding today’s vote to impeach President Trump:
“Today’s rushed vote is one for political expediency that will only impede efforts to heal the nation, and therefore I will not be voting to impeach President Trump. I will not vote to further divide this nation at a time when we should be focused on helping the American people and unifying the country.Congresswoman Stephanie Bice
Every American has the right to a legal defense, including the President of the United States. In bringing the articles of impeachment against President Trump, there has been no substantive investigation, or process for evidence to be brought forth from both sides for members of the House to review. Additionally, there will be no time for a trial in the Senate before the transfer of power. Every American, including President Trump, has a right to defend themselves.
There are just seven days left in this administration. The President and the Vice President have both agreed to a peaceful transition of power. Let us focus our energy on moving forward and putting government back to work for the betterment of our nation and its people, rather than wasting time to impeach a man who will no longer be in office.”
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.
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