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The House of Representatives will begin the process Wednesday morning of impeaching President Trump a second time in little more than a year after Vice President Mike Pence rejected invoking the 25th Amendment to remove the commander-in-chief from office.
The House approved an article of impeachment on Monday that charged the president with “inciting violence against the government of the United States” in connection with the mob of Trump supporters who stormed the US Capitol last Wednesday, forcing lawmakers to seek shelter in undisclosed locations and causing the deaths of five people, including a Capitol Police officer.
House members gave Pence an ultimatum: either he and the Cabinet would remove the president or the House would seek to impeach him for the second time since December 2019.
Pence replied to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, saying removing Trump would “further divide and inflame the passions of the moment.”
“Last week, I did not yield to pressure to exert power beyond my constitutional authority to determine the outcome of the election, and I will not now yield to the efforts in the House of Representatives to play political games at a time so serious to the life of our Nation,” Pence wrote in a letter to House lawmakers.
The proceedings will begin at 9 a.m. in the House.
How to watch
The hearing will be broadcast live by most cable channels, including Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, as well as the networks, ABC, CBS, NBC and PBS.
It will also air on C-SPAN and be livestreamed on the House clerk’s website and YouTube.
What to watch for
A number of Republican House members, including Rep. Liz Cheney, the third-ranking Republican in the House, are expected to join with Democrats and vote for the article of impeachment.
“On January 6, 2021 a violent mob attacked the United States Capitol to obstruct the process of our democracy and stop the counting of presidential electoral votes. This insurrection caused injury, death and destruction in the most sacred space in our Republic,” the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney wrote in a statement released Tuesday night.
GOP Reps. John Katko of New York and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois are also expected to join Cheney. No Republicans voted with Democrats in December 2019 to approve the two articles of impeachment – for abuse of power and obstruction of justice over Trump’s phone call to Ukrainain President Volodymyr Zelensky.
What happens next?
If the House impeaches the President – which the Democratic-controlled chamber will be able to do without Republican votes, it will move to a trial in the Senate, which has a Republican majority.In the earlier impeachment trial, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell backed Trump and the president was acquitted on both articles.
But it’s unclear, now that Republicans in the House are poised to vote against Trump, how that will play in the Senate.
McConnell condemned the rioters in the Capitol and his wife, Elaine Chao, resigned her post as Transportation secretary in the administration.
A number of senators – Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Ben Sasse of Nebraska – have called out Trump personally for his role in the Capitol mayhem but they haven’t said whether they would support removing him from office. Ousting the president requires a two-third vote – or 67 senators.
If Democrats vote unanimously to convict, 17 Republicans would have to join them. In Trump’s impeachment trial in February 2020, only Sen. Mitt Romney voted to convict – and only on one charge, abuse of power.
There’s also a question about the timing of the trial in the Senate.
Because the Senate is on recess until Jan. 19, McConnell said they likely wouldn’t be able to take up impeachment until Jan. 20, the day President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in and Trump leaves office.
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