The United States Democratic-led House of Representatives on Wednesday made good its intention as it impeached President Donald Trump for the second time, first time in American history.
House Democrats accused the 74-year-old president of inciting the “lawless action” that took place at the Capitol on 6 January.
The House voted 232-197 to impeach the president, with 10 members of Trump’s Republican Party joining 222 Democrats.
A two-thirds majority of the Senate is needed to convict him, meaning at least 17 Republicans in the current make-up of the 100-member chamber would have to vote for conviction.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has already named nine “impeachment managers”, who would present the House’s case for impeachment during a Senate trial.
However, the top Senate Republican, Mitch McConnell, has said the earliest a trial could begin is 20 January – the same day as the inauguration of Senator Biden as the next president.
McConnell said the chamber is in recess until then. To start earlier, all 100 Senators would need to vote in favour of doing so.
“Given the rules, procedures, and Senate precedents that govern presidential impeachment trials, there is simply no chance that a fair or serious trial could conclude before President-elect Biden is sworn in next week,” McConnell said in a statement.
But Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer is exploring using emergency authority to reconvene the Senate before, however such a move would require Mr McConnell’s approval.
Recall that president Trump was first impeached on issue related to his connections with Ukraine, but this time it involves a domestic attack on the Capitol in Washington DC.
He is accused of inciting thousands of his supporters to storm the seat of Congress, forcing lawmakers who were certifying Democratic President-elect Joe Biden’s election victory into hiding.
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