By McKenzie Collins
Nation and World Editor
Today President Trump has become the first president to be impeached twice, after a majority ruling in the House. While this historic impeachment does not remove him from office, it is the first step leading to the Senate trial which will grant Congress the opportunity to bar him from ever holding public office again, as well as potentially removing his post-presidency pension benefits and secret service protection.
In a resolution that, according to CNN, passed 232 to 197, 10 of these votes for impeachment came from Republican representatives, now changing their minds from previous support of the president.
However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has not agreed to reconvene the Senate early. Therefore, President Trump’s second impeachment trial will not begin until after President-Elect Biden’s inauguration. At the time of the trial, the Senate will have a narrow Democratic majority, though conviction will require a two-thirds majority vote.
Today’s impeachment serves as a response to the violent Capitol riots — incited by the president — that took place on Jan. 6. The official charges are, according to CNET, “incitement of insurrection.”
Additionally, according to NBC15 News, Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala) is now facing backlash for his involvement as an opening speaker at the riots, officially deemed “The March to Save America.” The Alabama chapter of the NAACP in particular is raising awareness of this misconduct and calling for action.
Trump responded to threats of impeachment claiming, "It's ridiculous. It's absolutely ridiculous. For [House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi and [Senate Minority Leader] Chuck Schumer to continue on this path, I think it's causing tremendous danger to our country and it's causing tremendous anger."
On Tuesday, Jan. 12, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo) announced her support of President Trump’s impeachment, solidifying her position as the movement’s highest ranking Republican supporter. Cheney is currently the third ranking Republican House leader and one of a very small number of representatives in her party to publicly support the President’s removal.
According to CNN, Cheney justified her shift by saying, “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.”
On Tuesday night, according to CBS News, shortly before the House planned to vote on a resolution to formally request his evocation of the 25th amendment, Vice President Pence announced that he is not planning to impeach Trump. Should he change his stance, the amendment would allow a majority vote from the President’s cabinet to remove the President from office.
As certified by CNBC, Pence wrote to House Speaker Pelosi that he would not evoke the amendment, asking congress “to avoid actions that would further divide and inflame the passions of the moment.”
Pelosi appointed impeachment managers on Tuesday, led by head manager Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md). While some are glad for the timely response from legislators, others fear that this will inhibit President-Elect Biden’s agenda as he transitions into office. Regardless, President Trump remains confident that he will not be impeached.
In a passionate statement to the congress during today’s proceedings, Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA 3rd District) defended her position to vote to impeach the president.
“My vote to impeach our sitting president is not a fear-based decision,” she said. “I am not choosing a side, I’m choosing truth. It’s the only way to defeat fear.”