WASHINGTON (UrduPoint News / Sputnik – 14th January, 2021) President Donald Trump made history by becoming the first US president to be impeached twice, his political future now resting in a Senate trial that will not conclude until after the incoming administration is inaugurated on January 20.
Earlier on Wednesday, the US House voted 232-197 to impeach Trump on charges of inciting violence against the US government. Last week, pro-Trump protesters stormed Capitol Hill as Congress was certifying Democrat Joe Biden’s presidential election victory. The riots came after Trump in a speech near the White House called on his supporters to not allow the election to be stolen.
When the Democratic-controlled House impeached Trump in 2019 over charges of pressing Kiev to probe Biden family business matters, not a single Republican voted in favor of either article of impeachment. Trump was subsequently acquitted by the Republican-majority Senate in February of last year.
“I believe impeaching the president in such a short time frame would be a mistake… that doesn’t mean the president is free from fault. The president bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters,” McCarthy said on the House floor.
Senator Lindsey Graham warned that supporting the impeachment of Trump could invite further violence at a time the president is calling for calm.
“To my Republican colleagues who legitimize this process, you are doing great damage not only to the country, the future of the presidency, but also to the party,” Graham said.
MINOR PROTESTS OUTSIDE CONGRESS
Hundreds of armed National Guard troops were deployed to secure the US Capitol as the impeachment proceedings against Trump commenced on Wednesday.
Extra layers of defense were hastily erected around the US Capitol. In addition to the handguns, the police on the grounds were armed with shotguns and assault rifles. Massive “non-scalable” fences encircled office buildings near the White House.
“Given the rules, procedures, and Senate precedents that govern presidential impeachment trials, there is simply no chance that a fair or serious trial could conclude before President-elect Biden is sworn in next week,” McConnell said on Wednesday.
McConnell also shot down reports that claimed he was in favor of seeing Trump impeached.
It will take 67 votes (two-thirds of the 100-seat Senate) to convict Trump, which would require about 17 Republican senators to cross party lines. This seems unlikely, unless some remarkable developments fuel a mass Republican defection.
“I don’t think it’s likely, barring some unforeseen future event, that enough senators will vote to impeach Trump,” former congressional candidate and FBI Special Counsel Coleen Rowley told Sputnik. “Not only would they be afraid of the power of that political block but also, and very understandably, they should be worried about further inciting dangerous polarization.”
Financial analyst and political commentator Charles Ortel said, although it’s unlikely, an eruption of more riots could change the dynamics.
“Should there be escalating violence through the looming inauguration of Joe Biden as 46th president of the United States, it is possible that enough senators might join Democrats and Independents to reach the 67 vote target,” Ortel told Sputnik.
Presumptive Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, the chamber‘s top Democrat, in a statement on Wednesday said if Trump is convicted a vote would be held on whether to bar the New York billionaire from ever running for office again.
Trump in a video message after being impeached urged his followers to “ease tensions” amid reports of additional demonstrations ahead of Biden’s inauguration. During the five-minute clip, Trump never mentioned the word impeachment.
On Tuesday, Trump told reporters that the speech he delivered on January 6 before the protesters stormed Capitol Hill was “totally appropriate.” He also called the impeachment process the “continuation of the greatest witch hunt in the history of politics.”