Impeachment: preparations underway for Senate trial

WASHINGTON, D.C. (CNN) – Donald Trump made history this week, becoming the first president in U.S. history to be impeached twice.

Inside the U.S. Capitol, now protected by armed National Guard troops, the House voted to impeach President Trump for the second time, exactly one week after a pro-Trump mob stormed the building in a deadly riot.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said, “He must go. He is a clear and present danger to the nation that we all love.”

House Democrats explained why they believe Trump should be charged with “incitement of insurrection.” And in a rare bipartisan move, 10 House Republicans joined them.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) voted against impeachment but said this about the president’s role in the riot: “The president bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack. He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding.”

Trump’s fate is now in the hands of the Senate and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) made clear his trial will not start until after President-elect Joe Biden begins his term.

McConnell, who has said he thinks impeachment will separate Trump from the GOP, has told Republican colleagues he is undecided on conviction.

The president is still taking no responsibility for the attack on the U.S. Capitol and did not mention impeachment in a video statement posted by the White House. But Capitol Hill Democrats think Trump should be held accountable.

Biden stressed it’s crucial for Congress to multitask in the weeks ahead, writing in a statement: “I hope that the Senate leadership will find a way to deal with their constitutional responsibilities on impeachment while also working on the other urgent business of this nation.”

As Capitol Hill gears up for the next step in the process—Trump’s Senate impeachment trial—President-elect Biden’s inauguration is less than a week away.

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