After the riot of his supporters at the Capitol, the elected US President Donald Trump is heading for his second impeachment proceedings. In the US House of Representatives, the vote on the official opening of such impeachment proceedings against Trump is expected on Wednesday evening, Swiss time.
A majority is considered certain. Individual Republican MPs also announced that they would vote to remove their party colleagues from office. The Democrats accuse Trump of “inciting a riot”.
At the same time, the Democrats tried to get Trump’s immediate removal through an amendment to the constitution. Article 25 of the Constitution allows the President to be declared incapable of “exercising the rights and duties of office”.
Military take a stand
US Vice President Mike Pence, who should have initiated this together with members of the cabinet, officially rejected such a step on Tuesday evening (local time). Pence said it was not in the nation’s interest or in accordance with the Constitution and would set a “terrible precedent.”
In an exceptional political statement, the General Staff of the US Armed Forces sharply condemned the storming of the Capitol by Trump supporters. “Freedom of expression and the right of assembly do not give anyone the right to violence, riot and insurrection,” wrote US Chief of Staff Mark Milley and his colleagues from the US military leadership in a joint statement.
Any act directed against the constitutional processes is “not only against our traditions, values, and our oath – it is against the law”. The General Staff reminded the military that they were bound by the law and that they would continue to defend the constitution.
Deadly attack on the Capitol
On January 20, Joe Biden will be sworn in as the future US President and will be the next commander in chief of the armed forces, the top generals emphasized. So it is in accordance with the constitution and so states and courts have confirmed it and Congress officially certified it. Trump had incited his supporters that the election victory had allegedly been stolen from him. The US military leadership usually stays out of daily politics.
Angry Trump supporters broke into the Capitol on Wednesday last week – after an inciting speech by Trump – during a session of Congress and wreaked havoc and destruction there. Several people were killed in the riots.
The unprecedented outbreak of violence in the political center of the United States caused a shock both nationally and abroad. The Democrats held Trump personally responsible for the riots and demanded that he be removed from the presidency immediately – even if Trump’s term of office ends in a few days anyway.
A majority for the introduction is expected
On Monday, the Democrats introduced a resolution indicting Trump in the House of Representatives. This Wednesday is to be voted on. If a majority is achieved, which is to be expected, the impeachment procedure would be officially opened.
The Democrats have a majority in the House of Representatives. On Tuesday, individual Republican MPs also announced that they would vote for Trump’s impeachment. Among them: Senior Republican MP Liz Cheney, daughter of former US Vice President Dick Cheney, who is a member of the House of Representatives Republican leadership.
Trump rounded up the “mob” that stormed the Capitol and triggered the attack, she said. There has never been a “greater betrayal” by a president of his office and his oath on the constitution.
Are enough Senate members opposed to Trump?
Several other Republican MPs also announced their support for Trump’s impeachment. The television channel “CNN” reported, citing Republican sources, that in the end up to 20 MPs of the party could join.
A decision in impeachment proceedings is made in the Senate, the other Congress Chamber. A two-thirds majority would be needed there to actually condemn Trump in the end. To do this, well over a dozen Republican senators would have to side with the Democrats. Individual Republicans in the Senate have openly opposed Trump, but have not yet said yes to impeachment.
The Democratic chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, told CNN there could be a political “earthquake” in the Senate that could result in a majority for Trump’s impeachment. Schiff was referring to a report in the New York Times, according to which the leading Republican in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, internally indicated that he considered the charges against Trump to be justified.
It’s about more than the current term of office
Citing unspecified sources from McConnell’s circle, the newspaper wrote that McConnell was glad that the Democrats had initiated an impeachment process because it could make it easier for the Republican party to break away from Trump.
The Democrats’ impeachment efforts are also about banning Trump from future government offices if possible. This would deny him a possible presidential candidacy in 2024.
Trump would be the first US president in history to have two impeachment proceedings opened. In a first trial, Trump had to answer in the so-called Ukraine affair for abuse of power and the obstruction of congressional investigations, but in the end was acquitted in the Republican-dominated Senate.
Trump bleibt Trump
Trump railed on Tuesday that the “impeachment fraud” by the Democrats caused “enormous anger and division and pain”, which was particularly dangerous for the US “at this very sensitive time”.
He does not seem aware of any guilt himself. Speaking to supporters just before the fatal outbreak of violence at the Capitol, Trump said, “It has been analyzed and people found what I said was entirely appropriate.”