The Second Trump Impeachment and What Comes Next

- A page of Donald Trump's second impeachment resolution. -

Wednesday, January 13, 2021, was the history-making day when the U.S. House of Representatives voted to impeach President Donald J. Trump for a second time, on the charge of inciting an insurrection. The vote, 232-197, marks the first time a U.S. president has been impeached twice, and with ten Republican representatives joining the Democrats in favor of impeachment, this impeachment is also the most bipartisan one in history. 

The Republican breaks were not entirely a surprise, but a few notable ones did stand out. Rep. Liz Cheney is the 3rd highest-ranking Republican in the House, holding the position of Republican Conference Chair, so a deflection that high in the party likely gave some political cover to the other nine. The surprise of the night came from Rep. Tom Rice, whose vote some thought had been a mistake until he released the following statement:

“Under the strict definition of the law, I don’t know if the President’s speech last Wednesday morning amounted to incitement of a riot, but any reasonable person could see the potential for violence.

Once the violence began, when the Capitol was under siege, when the Capitol Police were being beaten and killed, and when the Vice President and the Congress were being locked down, the President was watching and tweeted about the Vice President’s lack of courage.

For hours while the riot continued, the President communicated only on Twitter and offered only weak requests for restraint.

I was on the floor of the House of Representatives when the rioters were beating on the door with tear gas, zip tie restraints, and pipe bombs in their possession. It is only by the grace of God and the blood of the Capitol Police that the death toll was not much, much higher.

It has been a week since so many were injured, the United States Capitol was ransacked, and six people were killed, including two police officers. Yet, the President has not addressed the nation to ask for calm. He has not visited the injured and grieving. He has not offered condolences. Yesterday in a press briefing at the border, he said his comments were ‘perfectly appropriate.'

I have backed this President through thick and thin for four years. I campaigned for him and voted for him twice. But, this utter failure is inexcusable.”

Rep. Tom Rice voted against the certification of the Electoral College vote on January 6th, so seeing him deflect from the GOP was not expected by virtually anyone.

Ten Republicans, however, is certainly a minority of House GOP members. Other members made statements condemning the Capitol riots, while some like Minority Leader McCarthy stated that while they do believe President Trump bore responsibility for the insurrection, they felt impeachment was not the way to go.

In the end, history was made - and only a week before Donald Trump leaves office. What does this mean for the Senate trial that follows impeachment? In a statement released after the impeachment vote, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that he would not reconvene the Senate until after President-elect Biden's inauguration., all but guaranteeing that President Trump's Senate impeachment trial will be taking place after the president has already left office. 

As for the president himself, Trump has largely remained publically silent on his second impeachment, though with his list of social media bans, his commentary is limited to press briefings, presidential statements, and official videos from the White House. The White House did release a video message shortly after the impeachment vote in which the president addressed political violence and what he referred to as "attacks" on free speech. He did not mention impeachment, though reports say he is preparing his impeachment defense team behind the scenes.

Looking forward, Trump's remaining days in office are likely to remain his to serve out. Removal from office is determined by the Senate impeachment trial, and since that won't take place until after January 20th, there's nothing that would push Trump out of office before then. Except for the use of the 25th Amendment or a forced resignation, but both of those are incredibly unlikely.


Things to Watch 

  • Rep. Liz Cheney is facing backlash from other Republicans for her vote on impeachment. What happens to the Republican defectors? 
  • The president has no socials - will restricting him to official White House channels make his final days in office less eventful? Or will the power of the pardon shake things up?
  • Mitch McConnell is taking a different approach to this second impeachment, and reports say Trump is now on the Majority Leader's bad side due to recent events. Will Republican senators be more likely to convict if McConnell's influence is used against Trump this time?
  • Biden's Inauguration is ramping up security. Will we finally have a peaceful transfer of power?

Basil E. Bacorn

Basil E. Bacorn is an author, artist, entrepreneur, and aspiring entertainer. He has written and published over ten books, including Geek Gods, The Book of Random Thoughts, The Circle's Problem, and the Dark's Descent Series, and has earned an associate's degree in Business and Entrepreneurial Studies.

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