SOURCE: Reuters – As the House of Representatives moved on Wednesday toward a vote to make Donald Trump the first U.S. president to be impeached twice, the Senate’s top Republican rejected Democratic calls to reconvene the Senate for an immediate trial, all but ensuring Trump will not be ousted before his term ends next week.
A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell confirmed on Twitter a Washington Post report that McConnell had informed the Senate’s top Democrat, Chuck Schumer, he is not willing to bring the chamber into emergency session to consider removing Trump from office following House impeachment.
The planned House vote later on Wednesday comes a week after a pro-Trump mob swarmed the U.S. Capitol in a deadly attack shortly after the Republican president delivered an incendiary speech to thousands of supporters and repeated false claims of an election stolen from him due to widespread voting fraud. The mob interrupted the formal certification of Democratic President-elect Joe Biden’s victory over Trump in the Nov. 3 election.
The House debated a single article of impeachment formally charging Trump with inciting insurrection.
“We know that the president of the United States incited this insurrection, this armed rebellion against our common country,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, told her fellow lawmakers. “He must go. He is a clear and present danger to the nation that we all love.”
Reuters had earlier reported that Republican Senate leadership was discussing whether to initiate a trial as early as Friday, ahead of Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20.
Trump’s supporters on Jan. 6 breached the Capitol, sent lawmakers fleeing and left five dead in their wake, including a police officer.
Pelosi said Trump has engaged in a “war on democracy,” and that the “insurrectionists” and “domestic terrorists” who stormed the Capitol were “sent here by the president.”
No U.S. president ever has been removed from office through impeachment. Three – Trump in 2019, Bill Clinton in 1998 and Andrew Johnson in 1868 – previously have been impeached by the House but were left in power by the Senate.
Republicans made speeches urging the House not to impeach Trump in the interest in promoting national healing, with some accusing Democrats of recklessness.
Lawmakers remained on edge after last week’s violence, and large numbers of National Guard troops wearing fatigues and carrying rifles were stationed outside and inside the building.
Under the U.S. Constitution, impeachment in the House triggers a trial in the Senate. McConnell has said no trial could begin until the Senate was scheduled to be back in regular session on Jan. 19, only a day before Biden is due to be sworn in.