Washington, Jan 13 (efe-epa).- The United States House of Representatives has convened here Wednesday for a session in which its members are expected to vote to impeach President Donald Trump for the second time in his four-year term.
In a single article of impeachment, the outgoing Republican head of state stands accused of “incitement of insurrection” after a mob of his supporters – angered over claims by Trump and others of fraud in the Nov. 3 election – stormed the Capitol building in Washington last Wednesday.
That violent incident, which occurred while a joint session of Congress was being held to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory, left five dead. Trump had urged his supporters to gather in Washington on Jan. 6 and, in a speech at a rally that day, had urged the crowd to march to the Capitol.
Trump is expected to be impeached Wednesday afternoon in the Democratic-controlled lower house, with all members of that party and four Republicans – Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, Liz Cheney of Wyoming, John Katko of New York and Fred Upton of Michigan – set to vote in favor of the resolution.
The House on late Tuesday night passed a separate resolution urging Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the Constitution’s 25th Amendment to have Trump removed via a Cabinet vote.
Pence’s refusal to take that action has paved the way to a new impeachment drive.
The president was impeached by the House in late 2019 on one charge of abuse of power stemming from an allegation that he sought personal political gain that year by improperly pressuring Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to publicly announce a corruption investigation into then-candidate Biden and his son Hunter.
He also faced a separate charge of obstruction of the House’s impeachment inquiry.
Trump, who was acquitted in the Republican-controlled Senate early last year, is on track to become the first president in US history to be impeached on two occasions.
While the House is all but certain to impeach Trump with a simple majority vote on Wednesday, the expected Senate trial would likely take place after Biden’s inauguration and would not be aimed at removing him from power but rather disqualifying him from holding political office in the future.
Conviction following a Senate impeachment trial requires a two-thirds majority. That 100-member body will be equally divided among Democrats and Republicans once two recent election results in Georgia are certified.
Trump on Tuesday broke his silence following the Capitol incursion, calling the new impeachment drive “absolutely ridiculous” and a “continuation of the greatest witch hunt in the history of politics.”
The president has been hounded throughout his president by accusations of a conspiracy between his campaign and Russia to steal the 2016 election, allegations that sparked a special counsel probe which ultimately found insufficient evidence of collusion.
Political tensions are high in the US ahead of the formal transfer of power, with Biden set to be inaugurated on Jan. 20 in an event that Trump has said he will not attend.
Ahead of Biden’s swearing-in ceremony, authorities are deploying 10,000 National Guard troops and setting up barricades around the Capitol to avoid a repeat of last Wednesday’s violence. EFE-EPA