On Wednesday, the House of Representatives impeached President Donald Trump on a charge of incitement of insurrection following the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, making him the first president in United States history to be impeached twice. In a vote of 232 to 197, representatives approved the measure. Although no Republicans supported efforts to remove the president from office during Trump's first impeachment proceedings, 10 broke ranks to vote in favor of the impeachment.
The Wednesday vote came exactly one week before Inauguration Day and one week after the Jan. 6 violence at the Capitol, which left five people dead after a mob stormed the Capitol building. Reps. Jaime Raskin, Ted Lieu, and David Cicilline formally introduced their impeachment resolution Monday, stating Trump has "demonstrated that he will remain a threat to national security, democracy and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office, and has acted in a manner grossly incompatible with self-governance and the rule of law."
"He threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power, and imperiled a coequal branch of government," the five-page article of impeachment says. "He thereby betrayed his trust as president, to the manifest injury of the people of the United States."
The article cited the president's speech to supporters on Jan. 6 near the White House just before the crowd moved to the Capitol, as Trump "reiterated false claims that 'we won this election, and we won it in a landslide.'" The impeachment article continued, "thus incited by President Trump, members of the crowd he had addressed, in an attempt to, among other objectives, interfere with the Joint Session's solemn constitutional duty to certify the results of the 2020 Presidential election, unlawfully breached and vandalized the Capitol, injured and killed law enforcement personnel, menaced Members of Congress, the Vice President, and Congressional personnel, and engaged in other violent, deadly, destructive, and seditious acts."
The bill also cited prior examples of the president's effort "to subvert and obstruct the certification of the results of the 2020 presidential election," including Trump's Jan. 2 phone call urging Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to "find" enough votes to overturn the state's election results. It also cited the Constitution's 14th Amendment, noting that it "prohibits any person who has 'engaged in insurrection or rebellion against' the United States" from holding office.
Following the House's vote to impeach the president, the next step will be a Senate trial, where it would take 67 votes to remove the president from office. Although Republicans currently hold the majority, some are breaking ranks, with The New York Times reporting Tuesday that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell privately backs impeachment.
Trump is only the third president in U.S. history to be impeached, and the only president to be impeached twice. Bill Clinton was impeached for perjury and obstruction of justice in 1998, though the Senate did not vote to remove him from office. Andrew Johnson was impeached for 11 high crimes and misdemeanors 130 years prior in 1868, but the Senate also acquitted him. Despite being under investigation for his involvement in the Watergate scandal, Richard Nixon resigned from office before he could be impeached.