Donald Trump is set to be the first president in U.S. history to be impeached a second time, as the House of Representatives prepares to vote to indict the outgoing president for instigating last week’s violent siege on Capitol Hill American.
The Democrat-controlled House of Representatives is expected to hold a vote Wednesday afternoon on an article of impeachment, accusing the president of “incitement to insurgency.”
More than 200 members of the Democratic House have already signed the bill, and at least five House Republicans, including Liz Cheney, have said they will also vote to impeach Mr. Trump, just a week before Joe Biden sworn in as the 46th US President.
Ms Cheney’s statement on Tuesday night, in which she said Mr Trump had “summoned the mob” that stormed the Capitol and left at least five dead, sent shock waves by Washington. Ms. Cheney is the third-largest House Republican and the daughter of Dick Cheney, the former vice president.
Members of the National Guard were deployed to the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday ahead of the impeachment vote and are expected to support police until Mr. Biden’s inauguration.
After Mr. Trump is dismissed, Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic House Speaker, will send the impeachment article to the Senate for trial.
Although Ms Pelosi has not said when she will send the article, she named a list of those responsible for the arraignment on Tuesday evening, to an extent that would allow her to proceed quickly. The managers will pursue the case against Mr. Trump in a trial in the upper house. The leader among them is Jamie Raskin, the Democratic congressman from Maryland who also wrote the impeachment article.
Steny Hoyer, Ms Pelosi’s second in command, said Wednesday morning that the article could be sent as early as this week.
“I think we’ll send it out as soon as we have the capacity,” he told MSNBC. “I don’t think we’re going to wait.”
This would put pressure on Mitch McConnell, the top Senate Republican, to start an emergency upper house session of Congress to start a trial.
The New York Times reported Tuesday that Mr. McConnell was happy Democrats were pushing to impeach Mr. Trump because he believed it would help the Republican Party purge the president from his ranks. Mr McConnell’s wife Elaine Chao is one of three members of the presidential cabinet to have resigned in recent days due to her handling of the Capitol riots.
A spokesperson for Mr McConnell did not respond to a request for comment.
Only three presidents, Andrew Johnson, Bill Clinton and Mr. Trump, have been indicted for “serious crimes.” Mr. Trump is the first to be indicted twice and the only one to be impeached so close to the end of his term.
Mr. Trump, who last week was banned Twitter has been relatively calm in recent days, in stark contrast to the barrage of social media comments that marked his four years in the White House. On Tuesday, he told reporters that the impeachment process “caused enormous anger” and posed “an enormous danger to our country”.
A Politico / Morning Consult poll released Wednesday showed Mr. Trump’s approval rating plunged to an all-time low, with just 34% of voters approving the work he was doing.
Mr. Trump’s approval has also slipped among Republican voters, according to the poll, though he remained their first choice for the GOP presidential candidate in 2024. Forty-two percent of Republican voters said they would vote for Mr. Trump in the next GOP primary, compared to 54 percent when asked the same question in November.