‘No one above the law,’ says Pelosi on Trump impeachment: US News

Impeachment vote passes in divided US House of Representatives, with timeline for Senate trial still unclear.

President Donald Trump has become the first president in US history to be impeached twice [File: Gerald Herbert/The Associated Press]
President Donald Trump has become the first president in US history to be impeached twice [File: Gerald Herbert/The Associated Press]
  • The US House of Representatives has impeached President Donald Trump for “incitement of insurrection” for his behaviour and remarks leading up to last Wednesday’s siege of the US Capitol.
  • Trump has become first president in US history to be impeached twice, with legislators voting 232-197 to impeach him on Wednesday.
  • Ten Republicans joined Democrats in voting for impeachment.
  • The move comes after Vice President Mike Pence said he would not invoke the 25th Amendment and declare Trump unable to perform duties.

Welcome to Al Jazeera’s coverage of US politics. This is Joseph Stepansky and Mersiha Gadzo.

 

Republicans say they voted for impeachment because Trump failed to help during riot

Several Republicans who joined Democrats to vote for impeaching Trump said a factor in their decision was the president’s refusal to call off the rioters or allow for the immediate mobilisation of the National Guard.

Representative Dan Newhouse said he voted to impeach Trump because the president “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 fulfil his oath of office,” Newhouse said.

Anthony Gonzalez, another Republican who voted to impeach Trump, said: “During the attack itself, the president abandoned his post while many members asked for help, thus further endangering all present.”


Congresswoman Ilhan Omar says Trump’s removal necessary to unite the nation

Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar said after the House vote that impeaching Trump is an “act of accountability” that would help unite the country.

“This is a president who has not only been a threat to our democracy, our government; he’s been a president that has used rhetoric to divide our nation,” Omar told Al Jazeera.

‘There’s a clear unity in the country for holding [Trump] accountable,’ Ilhan Omar told Al Jazeera [File: Elizabeth Frantz/Reuters]
Though Trump leaves office in a week, Omar said there was ample time for the Senate to consider the article of impeachment against Trump.

By launching an “attack” on the US democratic process, Omar said Trump “succeeded in uniting us” to hold him accountable.


‘No one is above the law’: Pelosi

Trump’s impeachment has confirmed that “no one is above the law”, US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said.

“Today, in a bipartisan way, the House demonstrated that no one is above the law, not even the President of the United States and that Donald Trump is a clear and present danger to our country,” the top Democrat said during a ceremony at which she formally signed the article of impeachment.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi displays the signed article of impeachment against President Donald Trump in an engrossment ceremony before transmission to the Senate for trial on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC [Alex Brandon/AP]

Trump disavows violence by supporters

Trump, in a video released after his second impeachment, has disavowed violence carried out by his supporters last week.

“My fellow Americans, I want to speak to you tonight about the troubling events of the past week. As I have said, the incursion of the US Capitol struck at the heart of our very republic. It angered and appalled millions of Americans across the political spectrum,” Trump said.

“I want to be very clear. I unequivocally condemn the violence that we saw last week. Violence and vandalism have absolutely no place in our country and no place in our movement. Making America Great Again has always been about defending the rule of law, supporting the men and women of law enforcement and upholding our nation’s most sacred traditions and values. Mob violence goes against everything I believe in and everything our movement stands for.

A pre-recorded video of US President Donald Trump addressing the US Capitol riot is seen playing on a television in the White House briefing room in Washington, DC [Erin Scott/Reuters]
“No true supporter of mine could ever endorse political violence. No true supporter of mine could ever disrespect law enforcement with our great American flag. No true supporter of mine could ever threaten or harass their fellow American. If you do any of these things, you are not supporting our movement, you are attacking it and you are attacking our country. We can not tolerate it.

“Tragically, over the course of the past year, made so difficult because of COVID-19, we have seen political violence spiral out of control. We have seen too many riots, too many mobs too many acts of intimidation and destruction. It must stop.

US President Donald Trump speaks in a video message released via Twitter in Washington [The White House via Twitter/Handout via Reuters]
“Whether you are on the right or on the left, a Democrat or a Republican, there is never justification for violence. No excuses, no exceptions. America is a nation of laws. Those who engaged in the attacks of last week will be brought to justice.”


House Speaker Pelosi signs article of impeachment against Trump

Speaker Nancy Pelosi has signed the article of impeachment against Trump, saying she did so “saddened and with a heart broken over what this means for our country”.

She did not say when she would transmit the article of impeachment to the Senate, a formal step necessary to trigger a Senate trial.

She offered no reaction to Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell’s announcement that the Senate would not reconvene any sooner than January 19.

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks to the media before signing the article of impeachment against US President Donald Trump in an engrossment ceremony at the US Capitol in Washington, DC [Leah Millis/Reuters]

Federal officials warned police chiefs of Biden inauguration being targeted: NYT

Federal officials have warned police chiefs in a call that armed militia and racist hardliners are going after US President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20, the New York Times newspaper reported.


Senate Intelligence Committee to hold hearing on Friday

The US Senate Intelligence Committee said in a statement that it would hold a hearing on Friday on President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee to be the next director of national intelligence, Avril Haines.


Man with ‘Camp Auschwitz’ sweatshirt, Olympic swimmer charged over Capitol riots

A man clad in a “Camp Auschwitz” sweatshirt, a gold medal-winning Olympic swimmer, and a supporter of the Proud Boys group are among those arrested by the FBI in connection with the January 6 riots at the US Capitol, the Department of Justice said.

Robert Keith Packer, a Virginia man identified as having worn the Nazi-linked shirt, was charged with unlawful entry and disorderly conduct. He was released from custody after a virtual hearing in the US District Court in Norfolk.

In a separate case, prosecutors in New York charged Eduard Florea with being a felon in possession of a firearm after the FBI accused him of being in possession of more than 1,000 rounds of rifle ammunition, military combat knives, and shotgun rounds.

While Florea did not travel to the Capitol, prosecutors said he made verbal threats on the conservative social media platform Parler to carry out violence.

Florea is a supporter of the Proud Boys and had applied to become a member of the group, the government alleged during his hearing.


Second impeachment historic, but conviction may be ‘bridge too far’

Shawn Zeller, the editor of Congressional Quarterly (CQ) Magazine, told Al Jazeera that Trump’s second impeachment “is a historic moment”.

Ten Republicans voted to impeach Trump on Wednesday, but Zeller said that is “not enough for there to be any real consequences for Donald Trump, beyond just shaming him”.

Zeller said 17 Republicans will be needed to convict Trump in a Senate trial, at which a two-thirds majority is necessary. “To get 17 Republicans to vote to convict after only 10 broke in the House seems like a bridge too far,” he said.


Democratic leader Schumer says Senate will act on impeachment

“Donald Trump has deservedly become the first president in American history to bear the stain of impeachment twice over,” Schumer said in a statement after the House vote.

“The Senate is required to act and will proceed with his trial and hold a vote on his conviction,” said Schumer, who is poised to become the Senate’s majority leader after January 20.

“Make no mistake, there will be an impeachment trial in the United States Senate; there will be a vote on convicting the president for high crimes and misdemeanors; and if the president is convicted, there will be a vote on barring him from running again,” he said.


Schumer says Senate could vote on barring Trump from running for office again

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer has said that if Trump is convicted at his Senate impeachment trial, the chamber will hold a separate vote on barring him from running for office again.


Parler CEO says social media app favoured by Trump supporters may not return

Social media platform Parler, which was cut off by big service providers that accused the company of failing to police violent content, may never get back online, its CEO John Matze has said.

As a procession of business vendors severed ties with the two-year-old site following the storming of the Capitol last week, Matze said in an interview with Reuters news agency that he does not know when or if it will return.

“It could be never,” he said. “We don’t know yet.”

The platform, which describes itself as a “free-speech” space and is favoured by supporters of Trump, said in a legal filing that it has more than 12 million users.

Amazon cut Parler off its servers this weekend for failing to effectively moderate violent content. Apple Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google also kicked Parler out of their app stores.


Texas Republican fears future findings may put him ‘on wrong side’ of debate

The 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Trump in the House set a record for legislators voting to impeach a president from their party.

No legislators from Texas voted in support of the impeachment article, but one legislator said he fears that may have been the wrong decision.

Texas Representative Michael McCaul, who represents Texas’ southeastern 10th District, said in a statement he believed the House was “not given the time to truly look at the facts and evidence” before the vote was held.

McCaul, a former prosecutor, likened the vote to “attempting to indict a case before it’s been presented to the grand jury”. But he said he “truly” feared that “there may be more facts that come to light in the future that will put me on the wrong side of this debate”.


McConnell says ‘there is simply no chance’ Senate trial will happen before Trump leaves office

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said “there is simply no chance” that a Senate trial will happen before Trump leaves office on January 20.

“Given the rule, procedures, and Senate precedents that govern presidential impeachments trials, there is simply no chance that a fair or serious trial could conclude before President-elect Biden is sworn in next week,” he said in a statement.

He noted that previous Senate impeachment trials lasted 83, 37 and 21 days, respectively.

“In light of this reality, I believe it will best serve our nation if Congress and the executive branch spend the next seven days completely focused on facilitating a safe inauguration and an orderly transfer of power to the incoming Biden administration,” he said.


Trump impeached for second time

The US House voted to impeach President Trump for “inciting” the mob that stormed the US Capitol, making him the first president in US history to be impeached twice.

Ten Republicans bucked the president, joining House Democrats in agreeing that the president committed “high crimes and misdemeanors” with his actions and remarks leading up to last week’s riot.

The article of impeachment now heads to the Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday that the earliest an impeachment trial will begin is January 19, a day before Trump’s final day in office.

That guarantees any Senate vote would take place after Trump is no longer president, something that has never happened in US history.


Republican Meijer says he supports impeachment

Representative Peter Meijer of Michigan has become the seventh Republican indicate he will vote in favour of impeachment.

“This vote is not a victory. It isn’t a victory for my party, and it isn’t the victory the Democrats might think it is,” Meijer said in a statement.

“With a heavy heart, I will vote to impeach President Donald J Trump.”


Debate concludes and legislators vote on impeachment

Two hours of debate have concluded, with Republican and Democratic legislators condemning the violence at the US Capitol, while disagreeing on how to move forward.

Democrats, and at least seven Republicans, have called for Trump to be impeached.

The majority of Republicans argued that the impeachment was rushed and would further divide the country.


Democrat Steny Hoyer gives closing statements

Democratic House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer gave closing statements, concluding two hours of debate.

He referenced Republican Representative Liz Cheney’s condemnation of Trump’s actions and her pledge to vote to impeach.

“There has never been, she said, a greater betrayal by the president of the United States of this office, of his office and his oath to the constitution,” he said.

“This attack was not from abroad, it was, as Liz Cheney said, summoned, assembled, and inflamed by the president of the United States of America,” he said.

“This will be no ordinary roll call,” he said of the upcoming voting. “This is about our country, our Constitution and our democracy. These votes will be inscribed on the scroll of history.”

US House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer gave closing statements in the two-hour debate preceding a vote on an article of impeachment against Trump [Leah Millis/Reuters]

Republican Steve Scalise gives closing statements

In closing statements, Republican Representative Steve Scalise condemned the violence but said that impeachment would further divide.

“I’ve seen the dark evil of political violence first hand,” said Scalise, who was shot by a gunman at a charity baseball game in 2017.

“I oppose this rushed impeachment brought forward without a single hearing,” he said. “It will only serve to further divide a nation that is calling out for healing”.

National Guard members assemble in the Capitol Visitor’s Center on Capitol Hill on Wednesday [Joshua Roberts/Reruters]

Trump ‘will try to remain in the spotlight’: Analyst

If Trump does get impeached and if it goes through to a trial in the Senate, Shawn Zeller of the Congressional Quarterly Magazine told Al Jazeera that he believes Trump “will try to remain in the spotlight”.

“He’s a fighter. That’s all he knows how to do, is to punch back. He is never conciliatory, he never apologises,” he said.

“I think he very much intends to stay in the political limelight to retain control over the Republican party as much as possible. I do not think he will resign,” Zeller said.


Podcast: We are asking, again, will the president be prosecuted?

In the aftermath of the January 6 insurrection on the United States Capitol, Al Jazeera’s The Take podcast asks: What comes next?

https://art19.com/shows/4e4a1167-d88f-4ffb-ab1c-20ac555bd5f3/episodes/5ffad0ef-2e4c-4249-aed7-5fe71b66eaf9/embed?theme=dark-orange” style=”width: 100%; height: 200px; border: 0 none;” scrolling=”no”>iframe>


Republican Dan Newhouse says he will vote impeach Trump

Republican Representative Dan Newhouse has said in a tweet that he will vote impeach Trump.

The statement brings the number of House Republicans who have publicly said they will vote for impeachment six.

“A vote against this impeachment is a vote to validate the unacceptable violence we witnessed in our nation’s capital,” he said in a statement.

“It is also a vote condone Trump’s inaction,” Newhouse said. “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,” he added.


Trump urges ‘NO violence’ at pre-inauguration protests

President Trump, in a statement released by the White House, has urged “NO” violence, lawbreaking and vandalism” at pre-inauguration demonstrations.

The statement comes days after an internal FBI bulletin warned against “armed” protests in all 50 states and the US capital in the days leading up to the January 20 inauguration.

“In light of reports of more demonstrations, I urge that there must be NO violence, NO lawbreaking and NO vandalism of any kind,” said Trump, who has been banned from all mainstream social media.

“That is not what I stand for, and it is not what America stands for. I call on ALL Americans to help ease tensions and calm tempers. Thank You,” he said.

The White House released the statement as the House debated an article of impeachment against. His ally, Representative Jim Jordan, read the statement during the proceedings.

President Donald Trump gave a fiery address to supporters shortly before rioters breached the US Capitol last week [Jim Bourg/Reuters]

Top House Republican: Trump ‘bears responsibility’ for Capitol riot, impeachment a ‘mistake’

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has said Trump’s “bears responsibility” for the deadly Capitol Hill riot, but called impeachment a “mistake”.

“Americans want durable bipartisan justice,” McCarthy said. “That path is still available, but is not the path we are on today.”

“That doesn’t mean the president is free from fault. The president bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters,” he said. “They should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding.”

McCarthy said he supports a Congressional fact finding commission.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy walks to the chamber at the Capitol in Washington [J Scott Applewhite/The Associated Press]

Google to stop selling political ads for foreseeable future

Alphabet Inc’s Google will stop selling political ads referencing US elections across its services until at least January 21, following last week’s violence at the Capitol, according to an email to advertisers seen by Reuters news agency.

The email said the action was taken “following the unprecedented events of the past week and ahead of the upcoming presidential inauguration,” which takes place on January 20.

In a statement, Google said it would “temporarily pause all political ads in addition to any ads referencing impeachment, the inauguration, or protests at the US Capitol.”

The move, to take effect on Thursday, will make no exceptions for news organisations or merchandisers running ads.


Senate will not convene this week amid Trump impeachment: McConnell spokesman

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell will not use emergency powers to immediately reconvene the chamber this week as the House moves forward with its vote on Trump’s impeachment, his spokesman said in a post on Twitter.

The House is expected to vote Wednesday on impeaching Trump following last week’s riot in the US Capitol, and House Democratic leaders have said they could send it to the Senate as soon as this week.

McConnell spoke to Democratic Minority leader Chuck Schumer to say he would not reconvene the Senate under emergency authorities, almost certainly pushing an impeachment trial for Trump until after he leaves office, his spokesman said.


Schiff: Now is ‘moment’ to protect country

Representative Adam Schiff, a key figure in the first impeachment proceedings against Trump, said “this is one of those moments” for Americans to stand up and protect the country.

“America has been through a civil war, world wars, a great depression, pandemics, McCarthyism, and now a Trumpist and white nationalist insurrection,” he said.

“And yet, our democracy endures, it endures because at every juncture, every pivotal moment, when evil threatened to overtake, good patriotic Americans step forward to say, enough,” he said.

Representative Adam Schiff looks at his phone as he walks on Capitol Hill in Washington [Susan Walsh/The Associated Press]

McClintock: ‘What did Trump actually say?’

Republican Representative Tom McClintock argued that Trump’s speech before the Capitol Hill riot did not amount to inciting violence.

“What did he actually say?” McClintock said, noting that Trump at one point in the speech, said that his supporters would be protesting “peacefully”.

“If we impeached every politician who gave a fiery speech to a crowd of partisans this Capitol would be deserted,” he said. “That’s what the President did, that is all he did. He specifically told the crowd to protest peacefully and patriotically, and the vast majority of them did.”


Jordan says Democrats motivated by ‘politics and the fact they want to cancel the president’

Representative Jim Jordan, the first Republican to speak during the debate on impeachment, accused Democrats of being motivated by “politics and the fact they want to cancel the president”.

Jordan portrayed the second attempt to impeach Trump as the continuation of a Democratic vendetta against the president that preceded the Capitol Hill violence.

“It’s always been about getting the president, no matter what,” he said. He added that Democrats have been obsessed with “cancelling the president and anyone that disagrees with them.”

“And now with just one week left, they’re still trying,” said Jordan who has been the most vocal defender of Trump in the House since the mob attack.

“In seven days, there will be a peaceful transfer of power just like there has been every other time in our country but Democrats are gonna impeach President Trump again. This doesn’t unite the country,” Jordan said.

Representative Jim Jordan, an ally of President Donald Trump, condemned Democrats attempts to impeach Trump [J Scott Applewhite/The Associated Press]

Pelosi opens debate on impeachment, says Trump ‘clear and present danger’

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has begun a two-hour period of debate proceeding a vote on an article of impeachment against Trump, calling the president a “clear and present danger” to the country.

“We know we experienced the insurrection that violated the sanctity of the People’s capital and attempted to overturn the duly recorded will of the American people,” Pelosi said. “And we know that the President of the United States incited this insurrection this armed rebellion against our common country.”

“He must go,” she said.

Pelosi called the rioters who breached the Capitol “domestic terrorists”.

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

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi of Calif., walks through Statuary Hall on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, Wednesday, January 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

US House to debate on impeaching Trump after procedural vote passes

The House has voted 221 to 203 to begin debating an article of impeachment against Trump.

The debate will be two hours equally divided between the Democrats and Republicans.

A final vote on the impeachment of Trump is expected this afternoon.


Uncertain if Biden wants to see impeachment move forward: Analyst

Matthew Mackowiak, the chairman of Potomac Strategy Group told Al Jazeera that one has to consider how holding Trump to account for the riot that occurred on Wednesday could divide the country and bring about potential violence over the next week.

“I was talking to a Republican member of Congress yesterday who told me that this week will be worse than last week in terms of violence. That
is a really scary thought,” Mackowiak said.“I do believe the inauguration is going to be a very safe event but there could be violent riots at that event as well.

“These are the considerations you have to take into account. When you’re in a leadership position, you don’t get easy decisions,” he said. “I’m not sure if President-elect Joe Biden really wants to see this impeachment move forward.”

“I’m sure he does want to see the president be held accountable, and everyone involved in criminal activity last Wednesday held accountable, but he cannot possibly want additional violence, additional division and additional uncertainty against his administration just one week from today,” Mackowiak said.

President-elect Joe Biden will take office on January 20 [File: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters]

Full text: Donald Trump impeachment resolution

The House is expected vote on an article of impeachment against Trump, accusing him of “incitement of insurrection” for his role in egging on supporters before the Capitol Hill riots.

If the House impeaches Trump, the article will be sent to the US Senate, which is required to hold a trial to determine whether Trump should remain in office or be prevented from holding office in the future.

Red the full text of the article of impeachment here.


New York City to cut ties with Trump over incitement

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has said that New York City will cut ties with Trump’s company, citing his incitement of violence at the US Capitol last week.

“The President incited a rebellion against the United States government that killed five people and threatened to derail the constitutional transfer of power,” de Blasio said in a statement. “The City of New York will not be associated with those unforgivable acts in any shape, way or form, and we are immediately taking steps to terminate all Trump Organization contracts.”

Contracts between New York City and the Trump Organization bring the company $17 million a year, according to the Washington Post.


Jordan says Cheney should be removed from role: Report

Representative Jim Jordan, who has remained a steadfast defender of Trump, told reporters on Capitol Hill that Representative Liz Cheney, a Republican, should be removed from her role as the party’s third highest ranking member in the chamber.

“I think she’s wrong,” Jordan said of Cheney, the highest ranking House Republican to publicly support impeachment, the Washington Post reported.

When asked about the possible removal of Cheney from the post, Jordan replied House Republicans “ought to vote on that”.

Representative Jamie Raskin talks with Representative Liz Cheney in the US Capitol [Erin Scott/Reuters]

Tracking the business backlash against Trump after Capitol siege

From social media bans to cancelled golf tournaments and city contracts, the business backlash continues after supporters of US President Donald Trump stormed the US Capitol building last week.

The violent siege left at least five people dead and caused extensive damage. Now, Trump is facing a renewed impeachment drive as well as possible removal from office with only eight days to go before his term ends.

It’s a considerable blow for a reality TV star turned US president who has long boasted of his business acumen and styles himself as a master negotiator.

But Trump and his brand have become increasingly toxic as consumers demand that businesses, politicians, and other powerful figures take a stand against the outgoing US president and the assault on the democracy made in his name.

Here is a list of firms, institutions and cities cutting ties with Trump.


Airbnb to cancel DC bookings during inauguration week

Home-sharing giant Airbnb and HotelTonight, which it bought in 2019, are blocking and cancelling all hotel reservations in the Washington, DC Metro area during the week of President-elect Biden’s inauguration, it said on Wednesday.

“This decision was informed by inputs from our host community as well as local, state and federal officials,” Airbnb said in a brief statement.

Airbnb said it had banned from its platform some individuals who were found to have ties with hate groups or were involved in last week’s deadly storming of the US Capitol.

“We are aware of reports emerging yesterday afternoon regarding armed militias and known hate groups that are attempting to travel and disrupt the Inauguration,” Airbnb said.

The company did not immediately specify if its decision to block reservations was a result of a request from law enforcement agencies.

AirBnb has said it will cancel and block reservations in the Washington, DC metro area during inauguration week [Gabby Jones/Bloomberg]

House voting on rule preceding debate on article of impeachment

The House is currently voting on a procedural motion that, if passed, will open the chamber to debate on the article of impeachment against Trump.

If the rule vote passes, the House will debate the article of impeachment for two hours before a final vote.


Republican Representative argues impeachment ‘ignores due process’

Republican Representative Guy Reschenthaler argued on the House floor that impeaching Trump “ignores all precedent and ignores all due process”.

Reschenthaler added: “Trump’s words would not even meet the definition of incitement under criminal statutes.”

Members of the National Guard gather at the US Capitol as the House of Representatives prepares to vote to impeach Trump [Erin Scott/Reuters]

Omar: ‘We cannot simply move past this or turn the page’

Speaking during a debate on rules preceding a debate on the article of impeachment introduced against Trump, Representative Ilhan Omar said of the Capitol Hill riot: “We cannot simply move past this or turn the page.”

“For us to be able to survive as a functioning democracy, there has to be accountability,” she said.


Hoyer tells reporters as many as 20 Republicans could vote to impeach

House Majority leader Steny Hoyer told reporters on Wednesday he expected between 10 and 20 House Republicans to vote in support of impeaching Trump.

So far, five House Republicans, including ranking member Liz Cheney, have said they intend to join Democrats.

Steny also said he expects the article of impeachment would be sent to the Senate as soon as its passed.

Members of the National Guard were deployed to the US Capitol as Congress debates impeaching Trump [Joshua Roberts/Reuters]

Spirited impeachment debate under way

Supporters of Trump’s impeachment along with his defenders are taking to the floor of the US House as debate gets under way.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer argued: “There has never been a greater betrayal by a president of the United States of his office and his oath of Constitution – to the Constitution.”

“There is no doubt in my mind that the president of the United States broke his oath and incited this insurrection,” he added.

Ohio Representative Jim Jordan, a steadfast supporter of Trump, argued that Democrats’ accusations are unfair and moving to impeach Trump is “frightening for the country.”

“Democrats can raise bail for rioters and looters this summer, but somehow when Republicans condemn all the violence, the violence this summer, the violence last week, somehow we’re wrong,” Jordan said, citing the Black Lives Matters protests and looting that took place in some cities in the wake of those protests.

“I do not know where all this goes, and this is frightening for the country. We should defeat this rule and defeat the impeachment resolution when it comes up,” Jordan added.


Some Republican legislators argue impeachment will further divide

While several House Republicans have indicated they support impeaching Trump, others have argued that doing so would further divide the country during the already fraught period.

“I can think of no action the House can take that is more likely to further divide the American people than the action we are contemplating today,” Republican Congressman Tom Cole said during debate on rules proceeding an expected debate on the impeachment article itself.


Debate on ‘rules’ begins ahead of impeachment vote

Debate proceeding a procedural vote, which will kick off debate on the impeachment article itself.

Legislators were expected to debate for one hour.

Opening the proceedings, Democratic Representative Jim McGovern, the chairman of the House Rules Committee, said: “We wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the president of the United States.”

McGovern recounted as Congress met to certify the election results at “a rally a mile and-a-half (2.4 kilometres) down Pennsylvania Avenue, Donald Trump was stoking the anger of a violent mob.”

“He said Vice President Pence has to come through and told the mob to walk down to the Capitol,” he said.

“We can’t have unity without truth and without accountability,” he said.


John Kelly says Trump suffering from a ‘manhood’ issue

Trump’s former chief of staff John Kelly has said the president cannot admit to making a mistake because “his manhood is at issue here”.

“I don’t understand it, although I had to deal with it every day,” said Kelly, a retired four-star Marine general, during an event in Des Moines on Tuesday, the Des Moines Register newspaper reported.

Trump made his first public appearance on Tuesday, but refused to take responsibility for allegedly egging on rioters before Capitol violence.

“People thought that what I said was totally appropriate,” Trump said.


Congresswoman accuses colleagues of giving ‘reconnaissance’ tours before Capitol breach

Representative Mikie Sherrill has said she saw members of Congress leading “groups” through the Capitol on January 5, a day before rioters breached the complex, calling it “reconnaissance for the next day”, New Jersey newspaper the Bergen Record reported.

Sherill made the statement during a Tuesday night Facebook live event, adding, “I’m going to see they are held accountable, and if necessary, ensure that they don’t serve in Congress.”

Sherill did not specify if the groups in question were Trump supporters who had come to the Capitol as Congress met to certify the vote.

Pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol Building on January 6 [File: Ahmed Gaber/Reuters]

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: ‘I thought was going to die’

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a progressive Democrat, has recounted when rioters breached the US Capitol last week, saying “I thought I was going to die.”

Cortez, in a video posted on her Instagram, said: “I did not know if I was going to make it to the end of that day alive … “Not just in a general sense, but in a very, very specific sense.”

Cortez said she could not further explain her statement, citing “security concerns” but said firmly: “I thought I was going to die”.


US House opens Trump impeachment session

The Democrat-controlled US House of Representatives on Wednesday opened debate on an historic second impeachment of President Donald Trump over his supporters’ attack of the Capitol that left five dead.

Legislators in the lower chamber are expected to vote for impeachment about 3pm (20:00 GMT) – marking the formal opening of proceedings against Trump.

The president is expected to be impeached with bipartisan support.

Alia Chughtai/Al Jazeera
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies

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