A week after President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol, the House of Representatives began debate on Wednesday as lawmakers considered impeaching him for his role in an assault on American democracy that stunned the nation and left five dead.
At least five Republicans have said they would join Democrats in voting for an article of impeachment - a formal charge - of inciting an insurrection just seven days before he is due to leave office and President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in on Jan. 20. If the House approves it, Trump would become the first president impeached twice.
House impeachment of Trump would not immediately remove him from office but would set up a trial in the Republican-controlled Senate. It remained unclear whether such a trial would take place in time to expel Trump from office. As lawmakers debated the matter, National Guard troops and police were stationed around the Capitol to provide security.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, the No. 2 Democrat, said Democrats intended to send the impeachment charge, once approved, to the Senate “as soon as possible,” and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi named nine impeachment managers who would present the House’s case during a Senate trial.
The extraordinary swiftness with which Democrats were moving reflects the ongoing danger that Trump poses to national security, according to top Democrats. It also increases pressure on Mitch McConnell, the Republican Senate leader, to consider holding an
McConnell has said no trial could begin until the chamber returns from its recess on Jan. 19. But Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who is set to become the majority leader after two newly elected Democratic senators from Georgia are seated and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris is sworn in later this month, told reporters the Senate could be recalled to handle the matter if McConnell agrees.