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

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.