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US House starts Trump impeachment vote

US House starts Trump impeachment vote

Some Republicans switch sides

News Desk:
With at least five Republicans joining
their push to impeach President Donald
Trump over the storming of the US Capitol,
Democrats in the House of Representatives
stood poised for a history-making vote
trying to remove him from office.

His second-time impeachment process began
after Vice President Mike Pence balked at
the Democrats' call for invoking the
constitution 25th amendment to strip the
President of power.

With eight days remaining in Trump's
term, the House will vote on Wednesday on
an article of impeachment accusing the
Republican of inciting insurrection in a
speech to his followers last week before a
mob of them stormed the Capitol, leaving
five dead.

That would trigger a trial in the still
Republican-controlled Senate, although it
was unclear whether enough time or
political appetite remained to expel
Trump.

Democrats moved forward on an impeachment
vote after a effort to persuade Vice
President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th
Amendment of the U.S. Constitution to
remove Trump was rejected by Pence on
Tuesday evening.

"I do not believe that such a course of
action is in the best interest of our
Nation or consistent with our
Constitution," Pence said in a letter to
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Despite the letter, the House passed a
resolution formally calling on Pence to
act. The final vote was 223-205 in favor.

While that was occurring, Trump's iron
grip on his party was showing further
signs of slipping as at least four
Republicans, including a member of the
House leadership, said they would vote for
his second impeachment - a prospect no
president before Trump has faced.

Representative Liz Cheney, the No. 3 House
Republican, said: "There has never been a
greater betrayal by a President of the
United States of his office and his oath
to the Constitution."

Trump "summoned this mob, assembled the
mob, and lit the flame of this attack" on
the Capitol on Jan. 6, Cheney, the
daughter of former Republican Vice
President Dick Cheney, said in a
statement, adding: "I will vote to impeach
the president."

Three other Republican House members, John
Katko, Adam Kinzinger and Fred Upton, said
they would also vote for impeachment.

Republican leaders in the House did not
urge their members to vote against
impeaching Trump, saying it was a matter
of individual conscience.

'DEMONSTRATED NO REMORSE'

In his first public appearance since last
Wednesday's riot, Trump showed no
contrition on Tuesday for his speech, in
which he repeated his false claim that
President-elect Joe Biden's victory was
illegitimate. Biden will be sworn in as
president on Jan. 20.

"What I said was totally appropriate,"
Trump told reporters on Tuesday in his
first public foray since the assault on
the Capitol.

At a meeting to set the rules for
Wednesday's impeachment vote, Democratic
Representative David Cicilline told the
House Rules Committee that the impeachment
drive had the support of 217 lawmakers -
enough to impeach Trump.

Cicilline, who helped craft the
impeachment measure, said Trump "has had
almost a week to do the right thing. He
has refused to resign, he has failed to
take responsibility, he has demonstrated
no remorse."

House Republicans who opposed the
impeachment drive argued Democrats were
going too far, as Trump was on the verge
of leaving office.

"This is scary where this goes, because
this is about more than about impeaching
the president of the United States. This
is about cancelling the president and
cancelling all the people you guys
disagree with," said Republican
Representative Jim Jordan, a leading Trump
ally when the president was impeached in
2019 after encouraging the government of
Ukraine to dig up political dirt on Biden.

The New York Times reported that the
Republican majority leader of the U.S.
Senate, Mitch McConnell, was said to be
pleased about the Democratic impeachment
push, suggesting Trump's party was looking
to move on from him after the attack on
Congress.

McConnell believes the impeachment effort
will make it easier to purge Trump from
the party, the Times said.

If Trump is impeached by the House, he
would have a trial in the Senate to
determine his guilt. A two-thirds majority
of the Senate is needed to convict him,
meaning at least 17 Republicans in the
100-member chamber would have to vote for
conviction.

"I don't think you would have a hard time
finding 17 Republicans to convict" with a
tightly drawn article of impeachment, a
former Senate Republican leadership aide
told Reuters. "I think for McConnell,
there's a very strong impulse for this
(the Capitol assault) not to define the
party."

Pelosi on Tuesday named nine impeachment
"managers," who would present the House's
case for impeachment during a Senate
trial, but it remained unclear how swiftly
such a trial would take place if the House
votes to impeach.

McConnell has said no trial could begin
until the chamber returns from its recess
on Jan. 19.

But Democratic Minority Leader Chuck
Schumer, who is set to become the majority
leader after two Democrats from Georgia
are seated and Vice President-elect Kamala
Harris is sworn in, told reporters the
Senate could be recalled to handle the
matter.

Democrats could also use an impeachment
trial to push through a vote blocking
Trump from running for office again.

Rather than a two-thirds vote, a simple
Senate majority is needed to disqualify
Trump from future office. There is
disagreement among legal experts as to
whether a conviction on an impeachment
charge would be needed before a
disqualification vote. A different part of
the Constitution, the 14th Amendment, also
provides a procedure for disqualifying
Trump from future office with a simple
majority of both chambers.

Trump has said he plans to run again in
2024.

With agency, media inputs

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