President Donald Trump is on the verge of being impeached for a second time in a fast-moving House vote.
During debate Wednesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi asked Republicans and Democrats to “search their souls” ahead of the historic afternoon vote. Trump would be the first American president to be impeached twice.
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Trump “must go,” Pelosi said. “He is a clear and present danger to the nation we all love.”
Despite her urging, a successful impeachment trial remains unlikely.
Actual removal seems unrealistic before the Jan. 20 inauguration of Joe Biden. A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Republican leader would not agree to bring the chamber back immediately, all be ensuring a Senate trial could not begin at least until Jan. 19.
While Trump’s first impeachment in 2019 brought no Republican votes in the House, several GOP leaders and other lawmakers are breaking with the party to join Democrats this time, saying Trump violated his oath to protect and defend U.S. democracy.
You can watch a livestream of the ongoing debate below:
Most Republicans in fact planned to vote “no,” and Rep. Tom McClintock of California said during debate that impeaching Trump a week before he leaves office is a “petty, vindictive and gratuitous act.”
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“Every movement has a lunatic fringe,” he said.
As for threats of more trouble from intruders, security was exceptionally tight at the Capitol with shocking images of massed National Guard troops, secure perimeters around the complex and metal-detector screenings required for lawmakers entering the House chamber.
“We are debating this historic measure at a crime scene,” said Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass.
Though McConnell is declining to hasten an impeachment trial, a Republican strategist told The Associated Press the GOP leader believes Trump committed impeachable offenses and considers the Democrats’ impeachment drive an opportunity to reduce the divisive, chaotic president’s hold on the GOP.
McConnell called major Republican donors last weekend to gauge their thinking about Trump and was told that Trump had clearly crossed a line. McConnell told them he was through with Trump, said the strategist, who demanded anonymity to describe McConnell’s conversations.
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The New York Times first reported McConnell’s views on impeachment on Tuesday.
Trump’s final days in office, along with warnings of more violence ahead, leaves the nation at an uneasy and unfamiliar juncture before Biden takes office.
Trump faces a single charge of “incitement of insurrection.”
The four-page impeachment resolution relies on Trump’s own incendiary rhetoric and the falsehoods he spread about Biden’s election victory, including at a White House rally on the day of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, in making its case for “high crimes and misdemeanors” as demanded in the Constitution.
At least five Republican lawmakers, including third-ranking House GOP leader Liz Cheney of Wyoming, want to move forward with impeachment. The Republicans announced they would vote to impeach Trump, cleaving the Republican leadership, and the party itself.
Trump had been expected to be watching much of Wednesday’s proceedings on TV from the White House residence and his private dining area off the Oval Office.
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In the House, Republican leader Kevin McCarthy of California, a top Trump ally, suggested a lighter censure instead, but that option crumbled.
The Associated Press contributed to this article