WASHINGTON, DC — The U.S. House of Representatives, including RI’s Congressmen, has impeached President Donald J. Trump for inciting a violent mob to invade the U.S. Capitol building Jan. 6, but the outcome rests in the U.S. Senate, unlikely to weigh in before the president’s term ends Jan. 20.
It passed the House by a vote of 232-197. Ten Republican Congress members joined every Democratic member of Congress in voting to impeach the president.
“Once the articles of impeachment are transmitted to the Senate, a transparent and deliberate process must commence, said U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) on the bi-partisan rebuke of Trump. “The American people will have an opportunity to examine further evidence and Donald Trump must be held accountable for his actions.”
Congressman David N. Cicilline (D-RI), who sponsored the article of impeachment against Trump, was one of three U.S. representatives introducing the article of impeachment against President Donald Trump Monday morning.
Congressman James Langevin (D-RI) said he voted to defend the country from further damage from Trump, and urged the Republican-led Senate to also rise to the defense of the country they took an oath to protect.
“I do not take my decision to impeach President Trump lightly, but my duty is clear. Last Wednesday, January 6, the American people witnessed the wave of terror and lawlessness he encouraged as a mob of insurrectionists stormed the Capitol. President Trump is a clear and present danger to our democracy, our values, and the rule of law, and he must be removed before he can do more damage.”
“With his actions and rhetoric, Trump threatened our Constitution. Today, I fulfilled my duty to support and defend the Constitution ‘against all enemies foreign and domestic’ by voting to impeach him. This is yet another solemn day for America, but this is the necessary course of action on the heels of President Trump’s reprehensible behavior, which is contrary to honesty, integrity, and the American way. I now urge my Senate colleagues to honor their oaths and remove him once and for all,” Langevin said.
U.S. Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) also highlighted the imminent danger Trump poses to the United States if allowed to remain in power through the end of his term if his impeachment is not immediately taken up by the U.S. Senate.
“Even before that process begins, it is worth noting that Donald Trump’s hostility toward our democracy and his own Justice Department has caused thousands of U.S. National Guardsman to be deployed to the U.S. Capitol Building, ready to defend it if a second siege is attempted. Trump’s disregard for our democracy has caused law enforcement in all fifty states to be put on high alert for further acts of violent insurrection by white nationalists and extremists.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has stated he will not call the Senate into session early to consider the impeachment, according to a report from The Hill, he said, “there is simply no chance that a fair or serious trial” could be wrapped up before President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in Jan. 20.
That by-the-book attitude is in contrast with McConnell’s position on blocking a vote on the confirmation of Merrick Garland to the U.S. Supreme Court by President Barack Obama in 2016, creating a new interpretation of the Constitution single-handedly, a power legally reserved for the U.S. Supreme Court. Taking up the impeachment after Biden’s inauguration also effectively slows Congress during the first days of the Biden administration, as numerous bills passed in the House have already piled up in a backlog on McConnell’s desk.
This is the second time Congress has deliberated impeachment of Trump. The first time occurred in December 2019, with articles of impeachment for for Abuse of Power and Obstruction of Congress. The U.S. Senate voted against removing Trump on those articles, passing on the opportunity to remove the president from office months before he was able to use his position to incite the Jan. 6 attack.