President Donald Trump has been dealt an unprecedented second impeachment on Wednesday for inciting an insurrection against the government he will soon no longer lead.
A decisive 232-197 margin impeached the outgoing president, among them 10 Republicans—making it what historians call the most bipartisan impeachment vote in U.S. history.
Rep. Jamie Raskin, the lead impeachment manager, narrated the siege that tore through the halls exactly one week ago, starting with the pro-Trump mob erecting gallows and chanting of “Hang Mike Pence” and storming the Speaker’s office shouting “Where’s Nancy?”
“The mob could have blown this building up,” Raskin warned his colleagues. “They could have killed us all.”
Speaker Nancy Pelosi invoked the words of Abraham Lincoln during another time of national conflagration: 1862, in the thrall of the Civil War.
“‘Fellow citizens,’ he said, ‘We cannot escape history. We will be remembered in spite of ourselves. No personal significance or insignificance, can spare one or another of us. The fiery trial through which we pass will light us down in honor or dishonor to the latest generation,'” Pelosi recited. “‘We – even we here,’ he said, ‘hold the power and bear the responsibility.’”
For Pelosi, those words resonate today.
“In his public exhortations to them, the President saw the insurrectionists not as the foes of freedom, as they are, but as the means to a terrible goal, the goal of his personally clinging to power. The goal of thwarting the will of the people. The goal of ending, in a fiery and bloody clash nearly two and a half centuries of our democracy.”
Among the white supremacist, anti-government, neo-Nazi and other extremist groups spotted during the U.S. Capitol Siege were: Proud Boys, Oathkeepers, NSC131, New Jersey European Heritage Association, far-right podcaster Nick Fuentes’s Groypers, American Nationalist Party, and American Guard, according to a study by the Network Contagion Research Institute, whose lead author is ex-U.S. Congressman Denver Riggleman (R-Va.).
Leading them all was “White-Supremacist-in-Chief” Donald Trump, declared freshman Rep. Cori Bush (D-Missouri).
Rep. Gerald Connolly, D-Mass., asked whether there was “any depravity too low” to stir House Republicans to hold the president accountable.
“This is moment of truth, my friends: Are you on the side of chaos and the mob, or on the side of constitutional democracy and our freedom?” Connolly asked. “It’s that simple.”
For Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington State, the vote was a clear opportunity to choose country over party.
“My vote to impeach our sitting president is not a fear-based decision,” Herrera Beutler declared. “I am not choosing a side. I’m choosing truth, which is the only way to defeat fear.”
Along with Herrera Beutler, fellow Republicans Representatives Liz Cheney (Wyoming), John Katko (New York), Adam Kinzinger (Illinois), Fred Upton (Michigan), Dan Newhouse (Washington State), Peter Meijer (Michigan), Anthony Gonzalez (Ohio), David Valadao (California), and Tom Rice (South Carolina) joined the Democrats.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a Trump loyalist from California, split the difference. He denounced Trump’s role in the insurrection, dispelled the conspiracy theory surrounding it, and voted against his impeachment.
“Some say the riots were caused by Antifa,” McCarthy said. “There’s absolutely no evidence of that.” He blames Trump for the siege but opposes impeachment.”
McCarthy sounded a different note last week when he objected to the certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s election, despite a lack of any evidence that the contest was anything but free and fair.
Rep. Jeff Van Drew, the New Jersey Republican who switched party loyalties before the first impeachment, also attempted to forestall Biden’s presidency, but on Wednesday, Drew preached “unity” and implored members to “link arms and begin to heal.”
One of the managers selected by Speaker Pelosi, Texas Rep. Joaquin Castro challenged Trump’s remaining loyalists in McCarthy’s caucus to imagine if the insurrectionists succeeded in breaching the Speaker’s Lobby: “What do you think they would have done?”
Fellow manager Rep. Madeleine Dean affirmed the riots that tore through the lobby did not come from nowhere: “The President and many in this chamber have shamelessly peddled dangerous untruths about the election, despite the warnings of where those lies would lead.”
This is a developing story…
(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
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