Wednesday, 8 December, 2021
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Trump impeachment: Several Republicans to join Democrats in House vote



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Jan 13 (BBC): The US House of Representatives has begun a debate on impeaching President Donald Trump over his role in last week's storming of Congress.

Democrats accuse the president of encouraging his supporters to attack the Capitol building. Five people died.

Some in Mr Trump's Republican party say they will join Democrats to impeach him on Wednesday, formally charging the president with inciting insurrection.

President Trump has rejected any responsibility for the violence.

The riot last Wednesday happened after Mr Trump told supporters at a rally in Washington DC to "fight like hell" against the result of November's election.

Will Trump be impeached?

As Democrats hold a majority in the House, the vote is likely to pass.

"We have been asked to turn a blind eye to the criminality, corruption and blatant disregard to the rule of law by the tyrant president we have in the White House," Democratic Representative Ilhan Omar said in the House debate.

"We as a nation can no longer look away."

Although five Republicans in the House have so far said they will back impeachment, the majority remain loyal to the president.

"Instead of moving forward as a unifying force, the majority in the House is choosing to divide us further... Let us look forward, not backward. Let us come together, not apart," Republican Tom Cole told the House.

He was one of 139 Republicans who last week voted against accepting the result of the 2020 election and Mr Trump's defeat.

Once it has passed in the House of Representatives, the impeachment article will then head for the Senate, where a trial will be held to determine the president's guilt.

A two-thirds majority would be needed there to convict Mr Trump, meaning at least 17 Republicans would have to vote for conviction. As many as 20 Senate Republicans are open to convicting the president, the New York Times reports.

The timeline for a trial is not clear but it is unlikely to finish before Mr Trump leaves office on 20 January, when Joe Biden will be sworn in as president.

The Senate could also use an impeachment trial to block Mr Trump from ever running for office again. He has indicated he plans to campaign for president in 2024.

Wednesday's vote means that Mr Trump is likely to become the first US president ever to be impeached twice.

In December 2019 he became the third president to be impeached over charges of breaking the law by asking Ukraine to investigate Mr Biden to boost his own chances of re-election. The Senate cleared him.