On Jan. 13, 2021, one week after rioters ambushed the United States Capitol in an attempt to overturn former President Donald Trump’s defeat in the 2020 presidential election, the United States House of Representatives voted 230-197 to impeach Trump for the second time.
Trump was previously impeached in December 2019 for abusing power and obstructing Congress. That impeachment was set off after a July 2019 phone call in which he appeared to be using U.S. military aid as a bargaining chip to pressure Ukraine into investigating alleged ties to his political opponent Joe Biden. However, he was acquitted by the Senate at the beginning of 2020.
This decision serves as the first time a president has ever been impeached twice. It also makes him the third president in history to be charged with committing high crimes and misdemeanors.
All Democrats, along with ten Republicans, voted to impeach Trump on the basis of “incitement of insurrection.” In a Jan. 12 press release, Republican Liz Cheney of Wyoming claimed that Trump “summoned this mob, assembled the mob and lit the flame of this attack.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell plans to bring the Senate back for a trial once Trump is out of office and Biden has been sworn in, “facilitating a safe inauguration and an orderly transfer of power.”
In order to convict Trump, 17 of the 50 Republicans in the new Senate would have to join the chamber’s 50 Democrats in their vote of impeachment. Republican senators across the spectrum face enormous pressure to abandon their firm support for Trump and publicly speak out against him after the events of Jan. 6.
While some increasingly vocal Republican critics of the president have stated that they, too, were open to conviction, allies of Trump within the party have continued to line up in his defense, including 197 of those who voted against his impeachment in the House.
Trump has responded to the events on Tuesday with the statement, “It’s ridiculous. It’s absolutely ridiculous for [House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer to continue on this path, I think it’s causing tremendous danger to our country and it’s causing tremendous anger.”
It remains unclear what happens if Trump is convicted by the Senate; however, many speculate it will deter him from running for office again in 2024.
In a statement on the Senate floor, now Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said, “Healing and unity will only come if there is truth and accountability … If the president is convicted, there will be a vote on barring him from running again.”
What is known for sure is that this second impeachment will go down in history, inevitably staining Donald Trump’s name forever.