Welcome back to the Impeachment Briefing. In an unprecedented vote, President Trump was impeached for the second time.
What happened today
The House impeached President Trump for inciting a violent insurrection against the United States government, a week after a mob of his supporters stormed the Capitol.
The vote was 232-197, with 10 Republicans joining Democratic colleagues to impeach — the most ever from a president’s own party. Just over a year ago, Republicans voted unanimously against impeaching Mr. Trump. See how each representative voted.
A Senate trial is likely to begin after the inauguration. The departing majority leader, Mitch McConnell, signaled that he would not begin Mr. Trump’s impeachment trial before President-elect Joe Biden takes office.Here’s a guide to how the process works.
What lawmakers said
The House reconvened on Wednesday afternoon for an hourslong round of speeches from lawmakers. Here’s how some argued for or against impeachment.
“Donald Trump is a living, breathing impeachable offense.” — Representative Hakeem Jeffries, Democrat of New York.
“I will not use process as an excuse. There is no excuse for President Trump’s actions.” — Representative Dan Newhouse, Republican of Washington and one of the 10 in his party who voted to impeach Mr. Trump.
“They may have been hunting for Pence and Pelosi to stage their coup, but every one of us in this room right now could have died.” — Representative Jamie Raskin, Democrat of Maryland.
“Some say the riots were caused by Antifa. There is absolutely no evidence of that. And conservatives should be the first to say so.” — Representative Kevin McCarthy, Republican of California and House minority leader.
“He is capable of starting a civil war.” — Representative Maxine Waters, Democrat of California.
“If we impeached every politician who gave a fiery speech to a group of partisans, this Capitol would be empty.” — Representative Tom McClintock, Republican of California.
“Today we begin the long road to restoration. America has been through a civil war, world wars, a Great Depression, pandemics, McCarthyism, and now a Trumpist, white nationalist insurrection. And yet our democracy endures.” — Representative Adam Schiff, Democrat of California.
“Nearly half the country supports our current president. This takes their voice away.” — Representative Jeff Van Drew, Republican of New Jersey.
“Democrats can say, ‘You know, there needs to be unrest in the streets,’ while there is unrest in the streets. But they’re going to impeach the president for saying peacefully and patriotically, ‘Make your voices heard.’” — Representative Jim Jordan, Republican of Ohio.
“We said if we didn’t remove him, he would do it again. Simply put, we told you so. Richmond out.” — Representative Cedric Richmond, Democrat of Louisiana.
What the second impeachment means
I asked my colleagues Julie Davis, who edits our congressional coverage, and Carl Hulse, a longtime congressional reporter, what stood out to them about this second presidential impeachment.
JULIE: It was really clear that there was a big divide among Republicans. A number of them got up and vigorously defended the president and savaged Democrats for doing this, but most did not actually try to excuse his behavior — they just argued that impeachment wasn’t the answer.
Even the party’s leader in the House, Kevin McCarthy, essentially said the president had done wrong and deserved consequences for what happened. They sensed the political danger themselves for appearing to condone what Trump did. And yet most of them still did not feel that it was politically safe to vote to impeach him. Some of that might have to do with the fact that the president doesn’t have a Twitter feed anymore. It’s easier to speak out against him when you don’t expect a massive hail of presidential tweets coming at you.
What was also striking was that, by a factor of two, you had the largest margin of the president’s own party supporting his removal from office.
There was also so much symbolism today. You had all of this happening in a heavily fortified Capitol crawling with the National Guard, a week after the riot and a week before Biden is sworn in. The bunting was up and the brass had been polished for the inauguration. They’re spiffing up the building in all of the ways you do in anticipation of a new beginning. And yet here they were going about their business with these armed troops there to protect them against the loyal supporters of the departing president.
The Trump Impeachment ›
From Riot to Impeachment
The riot inside the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, followed a rally at which President Trump made an inflammatory speech to his supporters, questioning the results of the election. Here’s a look at what happened and at the ongoing fallout: