US President Donald Trump is on the verge of being impeached for a second time, the House planning the unprecedented vote one week after he encouraged a mob of loyalists to “fight like hell” against election results and the US Capitol became the target of a deadly siege.
While the first impeachment of Trump last year brought no Republican votes in the House, a small but significant number of leaders and other lawmakers are breaking with the party to join Democrats on Wednesday, unwilling to put American decency and democracy at further risk, even with days remaining in the president’s term.
The stunning collapse of Trump’s final days in office, against alarming warnings of more violence ahead by his followers, leaves the nation at an uneasy and unfamiliar juncture before Democrat Joe Biden is inaugurated January 20.
“If inviting a mob to insurrection against your own government is not an impeachable event, then what is?” says Rep. Jamie Raskin, a Democrat of Maryland, a drafter of the articles of impeachment.
Trump, who would become the only US president twice impeached, faces a single charge of “incitement of insurrection.”
The four-page impeachment resolution relies on Trump’s own incendiary rhetoric and the falsehoods he spread about Biden’s election victory, including at a White House rally on the day of the January 6 attack on the Capitol, in building its case for high crimes and misdemeanors as demanded in the Constitution.
Unlike a year ago, Trump faces impeachment as a weakened leader, having lost his own reelection as well as the Senate Republican majority.
While more Republicans may vote to impeach — and leaders are allowing them to vote as they wish — it’s far from clear there would then be the two-thirds vote in the evenly divided Senate needed to convict and remove Trump.