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House votes to impeach Trump, making him first president to be impeached twice



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UPDATED 5:41 pm (ET)

The U.S. House of Representatives have voted 232-197 in favor of impeaching President Donald Trump on the single charge of “high crimes and misdemeanors” for “willful incitement of insurrection” regarding last week’s deadly pro-Trump Capitol riot. There were five no-votes.

Trump is now the first president in U.S. history to be impeached more than once.

House Democrats were joined by 10 Republicans in casting “yays” for impeachment. Most notable among these Republicans is the No. 3 GOP member of the House, Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.). Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, said of Trump’s actions calling the mob to Washington, D.C. last Wednesday that “there has never been a greater betrayal by a President” of his office.

Republicans who joined Cheney include Reps. Anthony Gonzalez (Ohio), Tom Rice (S.C.), Dan Newhouse (Wash.), Adam Kinzinger (Ill.), John Katko (N.Y.), Jaime Herrera Beutler (Wash.), and David Valadao (Calif.). Four Republicans did not vote.

Trump’s legacy is now in the hands of the U.S. Senate, who will vote whether to impeach the soon-departing president after a trial is held. After the House vote, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell issued a statement confirming reports that he will not reconvene the Senate’s 100 members earlier than January 19, the day before President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, to begin the trial.

“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.

“Even if the Senate process were to begin this week and move promptly,” the Kentucky Republican argued, “no final verdict would be reached until after President Trump has left office.”

By the time the Senate reconvenes, McConnell will become the minority leader, due to the two January 5 Senate runoff races in Georgia that saw Democrats sweep both seats. Democrats will control 50 seats and have Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, effectively giving them a majority in the upper chamber—albeit an extremely narrow and delicate one. Moreover, they will have “the trifecta”: the House, Senate, and White House.

There is also the question of if McConnell will vote to convict Trump, about which there has been an abundance of reports and speculation, with the bulk of these reports indicating that he thinks Trump committed an impeachable offense.

Despite this, prior to the House impeachment vote, Sahil Kapur of NBC News reported that a McConnell aide told him the longtime Republican is telling his party colleagues he’s undecided on impeachment.

On McConnell’s behalf, the aide wrote that “while the press has been full of speculation, I have not made a final decision on how I will vote and I intend to listen to the legal arguments when they are presented to the Senate.”

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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Rep. Matt Gaetz Confronts Speaker McCarthy in Fiery House GOP Meeting



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In a closed-door House GOP conference meeting on Thursday morning, tensions flared as Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) confronted Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), accusing him and his allies of orchestrating an online campaign against him with the help of “MAGA influencers.”

According to reports from Fox News, the exchange was marked by what was described as “fireworks.” Gaetz directly addressed McCarthy, alleging that “MAGA influencers” had been paid to attack him on social media. McCarthy promptly denied the accusation, dismissing Gaetz’s claims.

Speaker McCarthy dismissed Gaetz’s allegations, indicating that he had no intention of engaging in such activities. In the same meeting, another source revealed that McCarthy questioned Gaetz’s commitment to the GOP’s goals, pointing out that he was personally dedicating his efforts to allocate $5 million to support GOP candidates and members with the aim of strengthening their majority in the near future. McCarthy’s remark seemed to challenge Gaetz regarding his contributions toward achieving a stronger Republican majority.

In response to Gaetz’s allegations, some members of the GOP caucus expressed frustration. According to a second source, one lawmaker told Gaetz to “f— off,” while another referred to him as a “scumbag,” according to reports.

Gaetz confirmed the confrontation to reporters as he exited the meeting, explaining, “I asked him whether or not he was paying those influencers to post negative things about me online.” He also confirmed McCarthy’s response, saying, “Yeah, that is what he said.”

When asked about his feelings toward McCarthy during and after the exchange, Gaetz remarked, “My blood pressure is like 120 over 80. So I’m feeling great.”

A spokesperson for Speaker McCarthy categorically denied any involvement in the alleged online campaign, attributing it to a Democrat-backed entity. In support of this claim, Fox News Digital reportedly obtained a screenshot of a cease-and-desist email sent by McCarthy’s outside lawyer to the individuals allegedly behind the campaign.

Furthermore, the email asserted that the campaign falsely claimed to act on behalf of Speaker McCarthy and his affiliated entities and warned of legal consequences if the actions continued.

The exchange in the House GOP meeting underscores the ongoing tension between Gaetz and McCarthy. Gaetz has been threatening to force a House-wide vote on McCarthy’s speakership, alleging violations of a deal struck to secure McCarthy’s election as Speaker in January.

Under the terms of that compromise, McCarthy agreed to allow any lawmaker to trigger a vote on his removal, known as a “motion to vacate.” While Gaetz had hinted at pursuing such a motion earlier in the week, he sidestepped questions on the matter during the recent meeting with reporters.

In the midst of this contentious atmosphere, Gaetz emphasized his current focus on advancing single-subject spending bills, deflecting inquiries regarding the motion to vacate and maintaining his dedication to legislative efforts.

The confrontation between Gaetz and McCarthy underscores the complex dynamics within the Republican caucus as it navigates internal divisions and confronts ongoing challenges on Capitol Hill.

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