House lawmakers on Wednesday impeached President Trump for his role in last week’s deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol, capping an extraordinary week of violence, apprehension and partisan brawling in Congress just as Washington cranks up security in preparation for Joe Biden’s inauguration, just a week away.
The 232-197 vote was historic: It made Trump the first president in the country’s history to be impeached twice.
And unlike the first debate, this time the president’s Democratic critics had support across the aisle. Ten Republicans joined every voting Democrat to approve the single impeachment article, which accuses Trump of inciting violence against the same federal government he leads.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who oversaw both impeachment efforts, said Trump’s refusal to concede his election defeat — and his subsequent efforts to rally supporters to the Capitol to overturn the election results — amounted to sedition. The president, she said, gave Congress no choice.
“We know we experienced the insurrection that violated the sanctity of the people’s Capitol,” Pelosi said in a floor speech before the vote. “And we know that the president of the United States incited this insurrection, this armed rebellion, against our common country.
“He must go,” she added. “He is a clear and present danger to the nation that we all love.”
The most prominent Republican to break with Trump was House Republican Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney (Wyo.), the No. 3 Republican leader and highest-ranking GOP woman in Congress, who said Trump “summoned the mob,” “lit the flame” of the attack and — despite pleas from his Hill allies — refused to call it off.
“There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution,” Cheney said in a statement.
Her terse, fiery remarks threw fuel on the civil war that’s now raging through the Grand Old Party, pitting Trump’s MAGA supporters against the GOP establishment. A pair of conservative Trump foot soldiers, Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), immediately called on Cheney to resign from leadership and on Wednesday began organizing an effort to oust her from power.