DONALD Trump could be impeached today – the first time in history a US President has faced impeachment twice.
Democrats moved to impeach Trump for inciting a riot after the shocking scenes in the Capitol last week.
The move appears to be backed by an increasing number of Republicans, including the third most senior Republican in the House of Representatives, Liz Cheney, who accused Trump of “lighting the flame” of the attack.
While today’s vote is likely to pass the Democrat controlled House, losing it does not actually mean Trump would be removed from office.
Instead it would trigger a trial in the still Republican-controlled Senate where two-thirds of Senators would need to find Trump guilty to kick him out – a largely symbolic move as the trial is unlikely to be completed before his presidency ends on January 20 anyway.
Ordinarily a Republican-controlled Senate would mean Trump stands little chance of being convicted but after a major falling out with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell over the Capital riot, that’s no longer certain.
While convicting Trump would be largely symbolic, Congress does have the power to bar ousted Presidents from ever running as a candidate again – a move that would destroy Trump’s hopes of winning power back in 2024.
Follow our Donald Trump live blog below for the latest news on the impeachment and transition of a Biden presidency.
TRUMP MAINTAINS ‘SPEECH WAS APPROPRIATE’
President Trump maintains that a speech he gave to supporters before last week’s riot at the Capitol was “totally appropriate”.
Speaking at the White House yesterday, he said: “They’ve analyzed my speech in my words and my final paragraph, my final sentence, and everybody to the tee just thought it was totally appropriate.”
Trump has been accused of inciting the unrest during the speech, in which he repeated unfounded claims of voter fraud and said: “You will never take back our country with weakness.”
MCCONNELL ‘PLEASED ABOUT IMPEACHMENT EFFORTS’
Senator Mitch McConnell is pleased about Democrat plans to impeach Donald Trump, the New York Times reports.
McConnell, the leader of the Republicans in the Senate, is said to believe Donald Trump committed impeachable offences last week.
He is also reportedly thinks it will be easier for establishment Republicans to regain control of the party if Trump is impeached.
SEVERAL REPUBLICANS TO VOTE FOR IMPEACHMENT
Several Republicans in the House have said publicly they will back the impeachment of Donald Trump.
Between 10 and 20 of the 211 Republican representatives are expected to vote in favour of the move, CNN reports.
Among them is Wyoming congresswoman Liz Cheney, who serves as House Republican Conference Chair, the third-highest position in the House Republican leadership.
The Republican leadership in the House is also reportedly not lobbying its members to vote against impeachment.
IMPEACHMENT VOTE EXPECTED TODAY
A vote on whether or not to impeach Donald Trump for a second time is expected to take place in the House of Representatives today.
It comes after a crowd of Trump supporters stormed the Capital last week in a bid to stop the certification of November’s election results.
The incident followed a rally by Trump at which he repeated unfounded claims of voter fraud and said: “You will never take back our country with weakness.”
The articles of impeachment are expected to charge Trump with “inciting insurrection”.
‘MEDICAL OR MENTAL INCAPACITATION’
The 25th Amendment to the Constitution states that the vice president becomes the acting president if the vice president or a majority of the Cabinet or a Congress-appointed review body declare in writing that the president is unfit for office.
Pence in his letter to Pelosi said that the 25th Amendment should not be used to punish or usurp someone, but rather be reserved for medical or mental incapacitation.
“Invoking the 25th Amendment in such a manner would set a terrible precedent,” Pence wrote.
But House Democrats are also moving to remove Trump by voting a second time to impeach him today.
NO TO THE 25TH
The resolution urged Pence “to immediately use his powers under section 4 of the 25th Amendment” to force the Cabinet to fire Trump.
It called on Trump’s Cabinet to “declare what is obvious to a horrified nation: That the President is unable to successfully discharge the duties of his office,” according to CNN.
In addition, the resolution by Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin called on Pence to assume “the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.”
However, the resolution amounted to only a symbolic rebuke to Trump because the vice president ultimately has the authority to invoke the 25th Amendment.
PENCE WON’T REMOVE TRUMP
The House of Representatives last night passed a powerless resolution calling on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment and remove President Trump from office in light of the Capitol riot.
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