The US House of Representatives began voting Wednesday afternoon on a Democratic Party push to make President Trump the only commander-in-chief to be impeached twice.
The move is expected to easily pass the Democrat-controlled House with support from a handful of Republicans, most notably US Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), the chamber’s third-highest ranking member of the GOP.
But a potential Senate trial won’t be held until after President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in on Jan. 20, a spokesman for Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) tweeted earlier Wednesday.
The article of impeachment being voted on accuses Trump of “inciting violence against the government of the United States” ahead of last week’s storming of the Capitol by supporters he addressed during a rally near the White House.
The riot led to five deaths, including that of a Capitol Police officer who was hit in the head with a fire extinguisher.
The House moved forward with the impeachment process after Vice President Mike Pence on Tuesday refused to invoke the 25th Amendment and ask Trump’s Cabinet vote to remove him from office on grounds of being “unable” to do the job.
In a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif,), Pence said that “now is the time for us to heal,” and adding, “I urge you and every member of Congress to avoid actions that would further divide and inflame the passions of the moment.”
The House later voted 223-205 — with only US Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) crossing party lines — to pass a symbolic resolution calling on Pence to reverse course.
Trump was impeached by the House in December 2019 on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress over allegations he tried to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to announce investigations that would boost his campaign against President-elect Joe Biden.
But the Republican-controlled Senate acquitted Trump in February, with US Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) casting the lone GOP vote against him, on just the abuse of power count.
Only two other US presidents have also been impeached — Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998 — but neither was convicted.