House poised to impeach Trump for second time: ‘Incitement of insurrection’
WASHINGTON — The House on Wednesday is poised to impeach President Donald Trump a second time, which will make him the first president to ever face this punishment twice.
House lawmakers are expected to vote on a single article of impeachment around 3 p.m. ET, charging Trump with “incitement of insurrection” in the wake of a pro-Trump mob violently storming the U.S. Capitol building last Wednesday.
The vote comes exactly one week before Inauguration Day when Trump will leave office and Joe Biden will be sworn in as president on the steps of the Capitol.
On Tuesday night, Democrats, joined by a handful of Republicans, passed a resolution calling on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office. But before the vote, Pence made clear he would not do so, saying that he didn’t believe “that such a course of action is in the best interest of our Nation or consistent with our Constitution.”
Democrats have overwhelmingly voiced support for impeaching Trump and as of Tuesday night, a handful of Republicans said that they planned to join their counterparts and impeach him during Wednesday’s vote. They include House Republican conference chairwoman Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., the most high-profile one, as well as Reps. Fred Upton, R-Mich., Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Wash., Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill. and John Katko, R-N.Y.
The “incitement of insurrection” article of impeachment was introduced Monday by Reps. Jaime Raskin, D-Md., Ted Lieu, D-Calif., and David Cicilline, D-R.I. It says Trump has “demonstrated that he will remain a threat to national security, democracy and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office, and has acted in a manner grossly incompatible with self-governance and the rule of law.”
“He threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power, and imperiled a coequal branch of government,” the five-page article of impeachment says. “He thereby betrayed his trust as president, to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.”
The article also cites Trump’s Jan. 2 phone call urging Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” enough votes to overturn the state’s election results as part of his effort “to subvert and obstruct the certification of the results of the 2020 presidential election.”
Trump, for his part, has no public events on his schedule Wednesday and with Twitter banning his account last week, the president won’t be able to tweet about the impeachment process as he did when the House impeached him in December 2019.
A former White House official told NBC News that Trump is part “defiant…part sullen,” while another source said the president is hardening in his defiance. This source said the president’s comments on Tuesday that he had done nothing wrong undermined efforts by his allies to try to dissuade him from things that might make it harder to limit the number of Republicans who support impeachment.
“Nobody told him to say anything,” the source added. “This is him being him.”
Biden, meanwhile, has no public events on his schedule Wednesday. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will participate in a virtual finance event for the committee organizing the inauguration next week.
Once the House impeaches Trump, the next step is for the Senate to hold a trial to determine whether to convict him and potentially bar him from running for any office ever again. While it’s not entirely clear yet when the trial would take place, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said earlier this week that he wants to send the impeachment article to the upper chamber immediately after it’s approved.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., named nine Democratic impeachment managers for the trial Tuesday, with Raskin leading the team that will seek to prosecute Trump.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said last week that the earliest the Senate could take up the articles would be Jan. 19, unless all 100 senators agree to come back early.
Kristen Welker, Peter Alexander, Carol E. Lee, Monica Alba, Kelly O’Donnell and Hallie Jackson contributed.