LIVE COVERAGE: House votes to impeach Trump after Capitol insurrection

Greg Nash

The House will vote Wednesday to impeach Trump for his role in the mob attack at the Capitol one week ago, which interrupted the Electoral College count in a joint session of Congress and forced the evacuation of lawmakers.

Passage is not in doubt: Every Democrat is expected to vote for the single article, which charges Trump with inciting violence against the U.S. government. But a big question Wednesday will be how many Republicans vote to impeach the president. Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.), the third-ranking GOP leader, said Tuesday that she would vote to impeach, and a handful of others have already announced they’re joining her.

An overwhelming majority of Republicans will oppose impeachment, and their arguments are likely to focus in large part on the division they say it will cause in the country. 

A week ago, a majority of the House GOP voted to throw out the Electoral College votes of two states, Arizona and Pennsylvania, citing allegations of fraud. But numerous courts across the country, state and federal, had previously dismissed those charges, and every state had certified its election results. 

Wednesday’s vote will put Trump in the history books as the only president to be impeached twice in the country’s history. It remains unclear, however, when Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) will deliver the article to the Senate, given the disruption it would surely cause President-elect Joe Biden, who is set to be sworn in on Jan. 20. 

Follow the debate below, which begins at 9 a.m. 

Pelosi signs article of impeachment charging Trump with incitement

6:05 p.m.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi formally signed the article of impeachment charging President Trump with incitement over his role in the violence that overtook the Capitol last week, capping impeachment proceedings in the House. It now heads to the Senate for a trial.

— Rema Rahman

Here are the Republicans who voted for impeachment

4:45 p.m.

Ten GOP lawmakers joined Democrats in voting to impeach President Trump on Wednesday on a charge of inciting a riot at the Capitol last week. 

They are: House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), Rep. Anthony  Gonzalez (R-Ohio), Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.), Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.), Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), Rep. Peter Meijer (R-Mich.), Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.), Rep. Tom Rice (R-S.C.), Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Rep. David Valadao (R-Calif.)

Read more here.

– Juliegrace Brufke

House votes to impeach Trump – again

4:30 p.m.

House lawmakers on Wednesday impeached President Trump for his role in last week’s deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol, capping an extraordinary week of violence, apprehension and partisan brawling in Congress just as Washington cranks up security in preparation for Joe Biden’s inauguration, just a week away.

The vote was historic: It made Trump the first president in the country’s history to be impeached twice.

And unlike the first debate, this time the president’s Democratic critics had support across the aisle. At least 10 Republicans joined every voting Democrat to approve the single impeachment article, which accuses Trump of inciting violence against the same federal government he leads.

The vote was 232-197.

Read more here.

– Mike Lillis and Scott Wong

More Republicans back impeachment

4:05 p.m.

Three more more House Republicans are publicly backing impeaching President Trump, bringing the total to at least nine.

Michigan Rep. Peter Meijer and Ohio Rep. Anthony Gonzalez both released statements as the House began to vote indicating they would vote in favor of the article of impeachment.

South Carolina Rep. Tom Rice has already voted in favor of impeachment.

– Regina Zilbermints

Debate closes on impeachment resolution

3:55 p.m.

After more than three hours, House debate on the article of impeachment has ended.

The House is now voting on whether to impeach President Trump for a second time.

– Regina Zilbermints

Connelly to Republicans: ‘This is a moment of truth my friends’

2:21 p.m.

Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), in a 30-second animated speech from the House floor, addressed his Republican colleagues, asserting that the current hour was a “moment of truth.”

“The American people are asking is there any depravity too low? Is there any outrage too far? Is there any blood and violence too much to turn hearts and minds in this body? Instead of the usual justification, rationalization and enabling and false equivalence we have to hear?” Connolly asked, looking across the aisle at Republicans.

“This is a moment of truth my friends. Are you on the side of chaos and the mob? Or on the side of Constitutional democracy and our freedom?”

Following his brief remarks, lawmakers could be heard clapping in the background.

— Lauren Vella

Sixth House Republican backs Trump impeachment

2:05 p.m.

Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.) on Wednesday afternoon announced he would vote to impeach President Trump on charges of inciting last week’s deadly U.S. Capitol riot, becoming the sixth Republican to do so.

“This is a pivotal and solemn moment in our country’s history. I wholeheartedly believe our nation—and the system of government it was founded upon—may well be in jeopardy if we do not rise to this occasion. This is not a decision I take lightly,” Newhouse said in a statement Wednesday.

“A vote against this impeachment is a vote to validate the unacceptable violence we witnessed in our nation’s capital,” added Newhouse. “It is also a vote to condone President Trump’s inaction. He did not strongly condemn the attack nor did he call in reinforcements when our officers were overwhelmed. Our country needed a leader, and President Trump failed to fulfill his oath of office.”

Newhouse affirmed his support on the House floor, saying he did so “with a heavy heart.”

Unlike in 2019, when Trump was impeached in the House along party lines, at least six House Republicans have said they will vote to impeach him Wednesday, including Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.), the third-highest ranking Republican in the chamber.

— Zack Budryk 

McConnell won’t agree to reconvene Senate early for impeachment trial

1:20 p.m.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) office told Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer’s (N.Y.) staff on Wednesday that the GOP will not agree to reconvene the Senate before Jan. 19 to allow an impeachment trial while President Trump is still in office.

A senior Senate Republican aide confirmed that McConnell’s office reached out to Schumer’s office to relay the message that Republicans will not agree to a Friday session to enable House Democrats to present articles of impeachment to the Senate while Trump is in office.

McConnell said in a memo circulated to colleagues last week that the Senate will not be able to handle business on the floor until senators are scheduled to return to Washington on Jan. 19 unless all 100 senators agree to reconvene sooner.

Schumer on Tuesday disputed that claim and said that he and McConnell could agree to reconvene the Senate in an emergency session in the next few days.

— Alexander Bolton

Pelosi: Trump is a ‘clear and present danger’

1:12 p.m.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) kicked off House floor debate on the article of impeachment with one of the most impassioned speeches of her career.

“He must go. He is a clear and present danger to the nation that we all love,” Pelosi said of Trump.

Pelosi said that impeachment would “ensure that the republic will be safe from this man who was so resolutely determined to tear down the things that we hold dear and that hold us together.”

She also made a point of calling the mob that rampaged the Capitol in an effort to prevent Congress from ratifying Biden’s Electoral College victory “domestic terrorists.”

“Those insurrectionists were not patriots. They were not part of a political base to be catered to and managed. They were domestic terrorists. And justice must prevail,” Pelosi said.

— Cristina Marcos

Pelosi thanks National Guard outside Capitol amid impeachment proceedings

12:02 p.m.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) thanked the National Guard members providing security outside of the Capitol on Wednesday as the House moved to impeach President Trump for a second time.

Her deputy chief of staff posted a photo of Pelosi approaching the dozens of troops outside the Capitol, exactly a week after pro-Trump rioters raided the complex.

“The Speaker of the House thanks the men and women of the National Guard for protecting the U.S. Capitol,” Drew Hammill posted on Twitter.

NBC News producer Frank Thorp reported that Pelosi expressed gratitude toward the troops and gave them all her challenge coin.

The raid on the Capitol led to the deaths of five people, including Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick and Ashli Babbitt, a woman shot by a plainclothes Capitol Police officer.

Pelosi had ordered the Capitol flags to half-staff last week in response to Sicknick’s death.

— Justine Coleman

GOP leader of Problem Solvers Caucus warns of more violence in ‘rush’ to impeach Trump

11:05 a.m.

The Republican leader of the Problem Solvers Caucus said the Democrats’ decision to impeach Trump on Wednesday — just a week after the attack on the Capitol — marked a premature “rush” to punish the president for offenses that have yet to be established.

Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) warned that ramming impeachment through the House in the final days of Trump’s tenure would only exacerbate the grievances among Trump’s supporters, and perhaps escalate the violence surrounding the transition of power to the incoming Biden administration.

“I look at snap-impeachment as a very dangerous precedent,” Reed said Wednesday morning as he entered the Capitol.

“Everyone in America has a right to due process. Everybody has a right to defend themself,” he added. “I think, when we’re talking about a constitutional magnitude of impeachment, people should respect that we need investigations. We need to raise the issues of constitutional free speech, that obviously this touched upon.”

Reed was quick to denounce Trump’s comments at the White House shortly before thousands of his supporters marched to the Capitol last week, storming inside in a violent charge that left five people dead, including a Capitol Police officer and a rioter.

Reed has supported censuring Trump, and left open the possibility that the president could face a permanent ban on holding office under the 14th Amendment. The amendment prohibits the election of any officials who have previously taken an oath to defend the Constitution, but are subsequently found to have “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” against it. (The Democrats’ single impeachment article charges Trump with inciting violence against the U.S. government).

But Reed also suggested that Trump should get another shot at the presidency in 2024 — if voters decide he’s fit to serve.

“I trust the collective wisdom of the people,” he said. 

— Mike Lillis 

Afghanistan veteran gives Guard troops tour of Capitol

10:52 a.m.

Hundreds of National Guard troops are essentially being quartered in the Capitol building as part of the sharp escalation in security around the complex following last week’s violence.

As they await their next shift, many are sleeping in various nooks of the Capitol, while others are wandering the hallways, many of them for the first time.

Rep. Brian Mast (R-Fla.), an Army veteran who lost both legs in Afghanistan, is helping facilitate their introduction to the elaborate building, giving a tour to roughly two dozen troops on Wednesday morning, just hours before the House is expected to impeach President Trump for the second time in his tenure. 

Some of the troops posed next to a statue of Rosa Parks, a New York Times reported tweeted.

— Mike Lillis

Hoyer expecting 10-20 Republicans to support impeachment 

10:24 a.m.

Heading into the vote, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said it’s still unclear to Democrats how many Republicans will cross the aisle to impeach Trump. But he put the number in the double digits.

“I would be surprised if there weren’t somewhere between 10 and 20,” he told reporters in the Capitol, adding that Democratic support will likely be unanimous.

Hoyer has advocated that House Democrats send the article to the Senate immediately after it passes the House, forcing Republican leaders in the upper chamber to take it up. But that strategy has divided Democratic leaders, some of whom want to wait for a period to allow Biden to get his footing in the White House first.

The decision, Hoyer suggested, will ultimately be up to Pelosi.

“You’d have to ask the Speaker,” Hoyer said.

The pair spoke on Monday on the topic of timing, Hoyer added, “and we agreed that this is an emergency situation and we need to move it as quickly as possible.”

Hoyer noted that Pelosi on Tuesday named the impeachment managers, suggesting that was a hint about her thoughts on the question of timing.

“That was done because you can’t send [the article] until you appoint the managers,” he said. “So she appointed the managers and my expectation is we’ll send it over as quickly as it’s ready to go.” 

— Mike Lillis 

Debate begins on starting impeachment process

10:09 a.m.

Before formally starting debate on the article of impeachment stating that President Trump incited an attack against the government, the House must first adopt a resolution establishing parameters for floor debate, known as a “rule.”

Emotions are running high on the House floor a week after the mob in support of Trump attacked the Capitol.

“We are debating this historic measure at an actual crime scene and we wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the president of the United States,” House Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) said.

Republicans are expected to mostly vote against impeaching Trump. But notably, Rep. Tom Cole (Okla.), the top Republican on the House Rules Committee, argued that impeachment would be divisive and rushed but didn’t try to actually defend Trump.

“So it is unfortunate that a path to support healing is not the path the majority has chosen today. Instead, the House is moving forward erratically, with a truncated process that does not comport with modern practice and that will give members no time to contemplate this serious course of action,” Cole said.

— Cristina Marcos

Security is stepped up

8:55 a.m.

In the wake of last week’s siege, security was ramped up in the Capitol, with hundreds of members of the National Guard present on the eve of the vote.

— Juliegrace Brufke

Tags 25th Amendment Anthony Gonzalez Brian Mast Capitol breach Charles Schumer Dan Newhouse David Valadao Donald Trump Gerry Connolly Impeachment Joe Biden Liz Cheney Mitch McConnell Nancy Pelosi Steny Hoyer Tom Cole Tom Reed Tom Rice Trump impeachment
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