27th January 2021
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Trump impeached for ‘inciting’ US Capitol riot

Author: BBC | Published: Thursday, January 14, 2021

President Donald Trump - credit | BBC

The US House of Representatives has impeached President Donald Trump for “incitement of insurrection” at last week’s Capitol riot, BBC has reported.

Ten Republicans sided with Democrats to impeach the president by 232-197.

He is the first president in US history to be impeached twice, or charged with crimes by Congress.

Mr. Trump, a Republican, will now face a trial in the Senate, where if convicted he could face being barred from ever holding office again.

But he will not have to quit the White House before his term ends in one week because the Senate will not reconvene in time.

Mr. Trump leaves office on 20 January, following his election defeat last November to Democrat Joe Biden.

The Democratic-controlled House voted on Wednesday after several hours of impassioned debate as armed National Guard troops stood guard inside and outside the Capitol.

The FBI has warned of possible armed protests planned for Washington DC and all 50 US state capitals ahead of Mr. Biden’s inauguration next week.

Earlier on Wednesday, Mr. Trump called on his followers in a statement to remain peaceful.

“I urge that there must be NO violence,” he said, “NO lawbreaking and NO vandalism of any kind. That is not what I stand for, and it is not what America stands for.”

Impeachment charges are political, not criminal. The president was accused by Congress of inciting the storming of the Capitol with his 6 January speech to a rally outside the White House.

He urged his supporters to “peacefully and patriotically” make their voices heard, but also to “fight like hell” against an election that he falsely told them had been stolen.

Following Mr. Trump’s remarks, his supporters broke into the Capitol, forcing lawmakers to suspend the certification of election results and take shelter. The building was placed on lockdown and five people died.

The article of impeachment stated that Mr Trump “repeatedly issued false statements asserting that the presidential election results were fraudulent and should not be accepted”.

It says he then repeated these claims and “willfully made statements to the crowd that encouraged and foreseeably resulted in lawless action at the Capitol”, leading to the violence and loss of life.

“President Trump gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of government, threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power, and imperiled a coequal branch of government.”

Last week, 139 Republicans voted against accepting the result of the 2020 election and Mr. Trump’s defeat.

The lawmakers made statements for and against the vote in the same chamber where they hid under chairs and donned gas masks as rioters tried to force their way inside last week.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, said on the House floor: “The president of the United States incited this insurrection, this armed rebellion against our common country.

“He must go. He is a clear and present danger to the nation that we all love.”

Democratic congressman Julian Castro called Mr. Trump “the most dangerous man to ever occupy the Oval Office”.

Most Republicans did not seek to defend Mr. Trump’s rhetoric, instead of arguing that the impeachment had bypassed the customary hearings and calling on Democrats to drop it for the sake of national unity.

“Impeaching the president in such a short time frame would be a mistake,” said Kevin McCarthy, the House’s top Republican.

“That doesn’t mean the president’s free from fault. The president bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters.”

Jim Jordan, an Ohio Republican, accused Democrats of recklessly dividing the country to pursue a political vendetta.

“This is about getting the president of the United States,” said Mr. Jordan. “It’s always been about getting the president, no matter what. It’s an obsession.”

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