The House of Representatives voted Wednesday afternoon to impeach President Trump for his role in last week’s assault on the Capitol as Congress started to formally count the electoral votes showing that President-elect Joe Biden was victorious in last November’s election.
The article of impeachment charged that Trump “gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of Government” by promoting false election fraud claims, seeking to illegally manufacture a different election outcome and inviting his supporters to attend the Jan. 6 rally in Washington that turned violent.
“He threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power, and imperiled a coequal branch of Government,” read the impeachment article. “He thereby betrayed his trust as President, to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.”
Trump became the first president to ever be impeached twice, following his December 2019 impeachment for soliciting foreign election interference before he was acquitted in the Senate. Those articles had no support among House Republicans, who unanimously opposed them, but this time 10 members of Trump’s party voted to impeach.
The Wyoming congresswoman and daughter of the former vice president is the third-ranking member of House GOP leadership. Cheney announced her decision Tuesday night in a statement.
“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.
“Much more will become clear in the coming days and weeks, but what we know now is enough. The President of the United States summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack. Everything that followed was his doing. None of this would have happened without the President. The President could have immediately and forcefully intervened to stop the violence. He did not. There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.
“I will vote to impeach the President.”
The congressman representing Syracuse, N.Y., and the surrounding area was the first Republican to announce his intention to vote for impeachment, doing so in a statement late Tuesday afternoon.
“To allow the president of the United States to incite this attack without consequence is a direct threat to the future of our democracy,” Katko said. “For that reason, I cannot sit by without taking action. I will vote to impeach this president.”
The congressman who represents central Illinois announced his intention to vote yes on Tuesday evening.
“There is no doubt in my mind that the President of the United States broke his oath of office and incited this insurrection,” Kinzinger said in a statement. “He used his position in the Executive to attack the Legislative. So in assessing the articles of impeachment brought before the House, I must consider: if these actions — the Article II branch inciting a deadly insurrection against the Article I branch — are not worthy of impeachment, then what is an impeachable offense?”
Last week, Kinzinger had called on Trump to resign or to be removed via the 25th Amendment.
“I’ll vote the right way, you know, if I’m presented with that,” Kinzinger said regarding impeachment on the ABC News program “This Week.” “I just think it’s probably not the smartest move right now, but I think that’s going to be out of my hands.”
Representing Michigan’s Sixth District, a region that includes the city of Kalamazoo, Upton said Tuesday night that he would vote to impeach Trump over last week’s Capitol attack.
In his statement, Upton took issue with Trump’s defense of his language before the riot. “Today the president characterized his inflammatory rhetoric at last Wednesday’s rally as ‘totally appropriate,’” Upton said. “This sends exactly the wrong signal to those of us who support the very core of our democratic principles and took a solemn oath to the Constitution.”
Jaime Herrera Beutler
The Washington congresswoman announced Tuesday night that she would vote yes on impeachment, saying in a statement that Trump didn’t just incite the riot, he waited hours to address it.
“Instead,” Beutler said Tuesday, “he and his lawyer were busy making calls to senators who were still in lockdown, seeking their support to further delay the Electoral College certification.”
“I believe President Trump acted against his oath of office, so I will vote to impeach him.”
Newhouse, another Washington state Republican, said Wednesday morning that he would vote yes on impeachment.
“Last week, hateful and un-American extremists stormed the U.S. Capitol, attacking both the structural embodiment of our Republic and the values we promote as citizens of this great nation,” Newhouse said in a statement. “This violent mob, intent on disturbing the constitutional duties of Congress, resulted in the tragic loss of American lives, including a U.S. Capitol Police officer. The mob was inflamed by the language and misinformation of the President of the United States.”
Speaking on the House floor Wednesday, Newhouse condemned the Capitol attack, but equated it with the nationwide riots sparked last summer by protests against police brutality. “We are all responsible,” he said. “My colleagues are responsible for not condemning rioters this past year. Others, including myself, are responsible for not speaking out sooner before the president misinformed and inflamed a violent mob.”
The Michigan representative, who was just elected in November, announced before the vote on Wednesday afternoon that he was a yes on impeachment.
“I have wrestled with the division this vote will cause,” Meijer said in a statement. “I wrestled with the precedent it will establish and I have concerns with due process. I have wrestled with whether impeachment, an inherently political process, is a meaningful mechanism of accountability for the seriousness of the president’s actions.”
“But today, my job is to apply my best judgment to the article of impeachment that is on the floor of the U.S. Congress. With the facts at hand, I believe the article of impeachment to be accurate. The president betrayed his oath of office by seeking to undermine our constitutional process, and he bears responsibility for inciting the violent acts of insurrection. With a heavy heart, I will vote to impeach President Donald J. Trump.”
The South Carolina Republican voted yes on impeachment Wednesday afternoon. Rice has represented the state’s Seventh District, which includes Myrtle Beach in the northeast part of the state, since 2013.
Rice released a statement after the vote, writing, “I was on the floor of the House of Representatives when the rioters were beating on the door with tear gas, zip tie restraints, and pipe bombs in their possession. It is only by the grace of God and the blood of the Capitol Police that the death toll was not much, much higher.”
“It has been a week since so many were injured, the United States Capitol was ransacked, and six people were killed, including two police officers. Yet the President has not addressed the nation to ask for calm. He has not visited the injured and grieving. He has not offered condolences. Yesterday in a press briefing at the border, he said his comments were ‘perfectly appropriate.’”
“I have backed this President through thick and thin for four years. I campaigned for him and voted for him twice. But this utter failure is inexcusable.”
Gonzalez, who represents northeast Ohio, voted yes to impeach Trump on Wednesday afternoon. Around the same time, his office released a statement in which Gonzalez said he believes Trump organized and helped incite the mob that attacked the Capitol.
“The Vice President and both chambers of Congress had their lives put in grave danger as a result of the President’s actions in the events leading up to and on [Jan. 6],” the statement said. Gonzalez said he came to this conclusion after “consulting with law enforcement, and watching footage of the events before and during the attack.”
The California congressman represents a swing district in the San Joaquin Valley and had not announced his intention to vote yes in advance. Valadao won the seat in November by just 1,500 votes after losing to Democrat T.J. Cox by 900 votes two years prior. Before 2018, Valadao had held the seat for three terms.
“President Trump was, without question, a driving force in the catastrophic events that took place on January 6 by encouraging masses of rioters to incite violence on elected officials, staff members, and our representative democracy as a whole,” Valadao said on Twitter after the vote. “Speaker Pelosi has thrown precedent and process out the window by turning what should be a thorough investigation into a rushed political stunt. I wish, more than anything, that we had more time to hold hearings to ensure due process.
“Unfortunately, Speaker Pelosi did not afford us that option. Based on the facts before me, I have to go with my gut and vote my conscience. I voted to impeach President Trump. His inciting rhetoric was un-American, abhorrent, and absolutely an impeachable offense. It’s time to put country over politics.”
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