Donald Trump becomes only president in history to be impeached for a second time

Updated: Jan 17, 2021

Donald Trump has become the first US president in history to be impeached for a second time for inciting a violent insurrection against the government of the United States.

The House voted 232 to 197 on Wednesday in favour of impeaching the president after the riot that left five people dead.

The president, Pelosi said, represented a “clear and present danger to the nation we all love”.

The action makes him the only American president to be charged twice with committing high crimes and misdemeanours.

The House was prepared to transmit the article of impeachment to the Senate straightaway after Wednesday’s vote.However, in a statement, the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, said there was “simply no chance” of concluding a trial before Trump leaves office, ensuring that the proceedings would begin during the inaugural days of Joe Biden’s presidency.

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If convicted, it would then require only a simple majority to disqualify him from ever holding public office again.

In a statement on Wednesday night, Mr Biden described Mr Trump’s impeachment as “a bipartisan vote cast by members who followed the constitution and their conscience”.

The Republicans who voted to impeach Mr Trump were led by Liz Cheney, daughter of former vice-president Dick Cheney. Ms Cheney is the third-ranking House Republican, who rocked Washington on Tuesday night by announcing her intention to move against the president.

“The president of the United States summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack,” Ms Cheney said.

While it is currently considered unlikely that enough Senate Republicans would break with Trump, two have called on the president to resign, and the New York Times reported that McConnell believes the president had committed impeachable offences.

In a letter to colleagues on Wednesday, McConnell said he had not made a final decision on how he will vote, and he intends to listen to the legal arguments when they are presented to the Senate.

Ms Pelosi has not said when she will send the article to the Senate, but she appointed several impeachment managers late on Tuesday, in a move that would allow her to proceed quickly.

Members of the National Guard were deployed to the US Capitol on Wednesday ahead of the impeachment vote and are expected to support the police until Mr Biden’s inauguration.

After his impeachment, Trump released a video statement condemning the violence and appealing to his supporters for calm ahead of Biden’s inauguration next week – remarks lawmakers implored him to make during the hours-long siege of the Capitol.

“There is never a justification for violence, no excuses, no exceptions,” he said, asking his followers to “ease tensions and calm tempers”.

Trump’s 'day of reckoning' on Capitol Hill comes less than a year after he was acquitted in a Senate impeachment trial for pressuring Ukraine to open investigations into Biden and his son.

Only three presidents, Andrew Johnson, Bill Clinton and Mr Trump, have been impeached for “high crimes and misdemeanours”. However, Mr Trump is the first to be impeached twice, and the only one to be charged so close to the end of his term.