rump impeached for second time, 10 Republicans break ranks

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Washington, Aug. 15, 2020 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Donald Trump attends a press conference on the COVID-19 at the White House in Washington D.C. March 9, 2020. (Xinhua/Liu Jie/IANS)

Another day for the history books as exactly a week after a pro-Trump mob stormed the US Capitol in a violent bid to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s election victory, Donald Trump has been impeached for a second time by the US House of Representatives.

As the clock struck 4.40 pm on the US east coast, the vote tally for the single article of impeachment stood at 232-197. Ten Republicans broke ranks and voted to impeach Trump on a day when the debate moved at lightning speed, much of it charged by the bipartisan anger at the scale of the January 6 violence.

In the process, Donald Trump’s place in history has been redefined. Still defiant, Trump will go out of the White House as only the first president ever in American history to be impeached twice.

Trump continues to refuse to accept the results of the US 2020 election and remained largely silent after he incited thousands of his supporters to march to the Capitol and “stop the steal” in the middle of a raging pandemic that has killed more than 370,000 people in the country.

The second impeachment of Trump closes out the Trump presidency in stunning fashion, after four years of the US president’s slash and burn strategy.

The guardrails around Trump finally collapsed. The dam broke after the Republicans lost two Georgia Senate seats. Then came the mayhem at the US Capitol on January 6, then came all the intelligence that exploded from that day’s bedlam. Lawmakers were furious. Nancy Pelosi and Mike Pence were said to be on the hit list. Twitter banned Trump and the corporate funding has practically evaporated, within 72 hours of the attack.

Trump was first impeached by the House in 2019 over his dealings with Ukraine, but the Senate voted in early 2020 to acquit.

Exactly a week after US president Donald Trump pumped up a mob of his supporters to “fight like hell” against the US election results and they ended up launching a deadly attack on the US Capitol, the House of Representatives is barreling towards impeaching Trump for a second time in his tenure.

The House cleared two procedural hurdles this morning. The votes were 221-205 and 221-203. The final vote is expected this afternoon. Five Republicans have already confirmed they are ready to impeach and all eyes are on how much bigger that number becomes by the time the gavel comes down on a historic session, with days to go before the new administration takes over. Inauguration Day is January 20.

The impeachment debate today is based on a single article: “incitement to insurrection”. Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Trump represents a “clear and present danger” to the nation and must be impeached. She said, “We know that the president of the United States incited this insurrection this armed rebellion against our common country. He must go.”

Meanwhile, security at the US Capitol has been cranked up to the highest levels ever. More US troops are on Capitol Hill right now than in Iraq or Afghanistan. The troops will remain in place for Inauguration Day as fears rise about the potential for more attacks similar to the one on January 6.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has already opened 170 cases and warned that there will be hundreds more as it conducts its “unprecedented” investigation into the scope and scale of the US Capitol siege.

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