President Donald Trump was impeached by the U.S. House on a single charge of incitement of insurrection for his role in a deadly riot by his supporters that left five dead and the Capitol ransacked, putting an indelible stain on his legacy with only a week left in his term.
Wednesday’s historic 232-197 vote makes Trump the only U.S. president to be impeached twice, a little more than a year since his first. It was supported by all Democrats and 10 Republicans, including Liz Cheney, the third-ranking GOP leader in the House.
“We know that the president of the United States incited this insurrection,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said before the vote. She called Trump “a clear and present danger to this country that we all love.”
Pelosi will now determine how quickly to send the impeachment article to the Senate for a trial.
Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell has rejected Democratic leader Chuck Schumer’s plea to agree to bring senators back for an emergency session and start the trial before Jan. 20 when Trump leaves office and President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated.
Trump has kept an iron grip on the Republican Party for most of his four years in office. But his stoking of the angry mob of supporters that stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 was too much for some in the GOP. Even Republicans who didn’t vote for his impeachment denounced his actions.
McConnell has told associates that he believes that Trump committed an impeachable offense last week when he egged on protesters, two people familiar with the matter said.
In a note Wednesday to his Republican colleague, McConnell wrote, “I have not made a final decision on how I will vote and I intend to listen to the legal arguments when they are presented to the Senate.”
The repercussions were wide.
Blue-chip companies began a torrent of announcements that they would at least temporarily cut off contributions to lawmakers who joined Trump in false claims of electoral fraud and the attempt to block results of the Nov. 3 election.
Twitter, which has served as Trump’s megaphone to his followers, banned him, and he was kicked off other platforms. His business also took hits as the banks handling his finances and the American golf industry that brings business to his clubs pulled away.
Investors, however, shrugged off the proceedings in Washington on Wednesday, with the S&P 500 index seeing a modest 0.2% advance as of 3:31 p.m.
Trump has hinted at possibly running for president again in 2024, but his political future was uncertain. In addition to the political damage he’s sustained, Trump could be legally barred from holding federal office again if found guilty.
He also faces potential criminal and civil legal jeopardy for encouraging supporters before the Jan. 6 riot.
Trump, McCarthy Statements
A short time before the House vote, Trump tried again to quell the furor by releasing a statement saying, “There must be NO violence, NO lawbreaking and NO vandalism of any kind.”
“That is not what I stand for, and it is not what America stands for,” Trump said in the statement. “I call on ALL Americans to help ease tensions and calm tempers.”