House Delivers Impeachment Charge Against Trump to Senate

The effort to impeach former President Donald Trump represents only the fourth time a U.S. president has been impeached. Half of those efforts involve Trump.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., displays the signed article of impeachment against President Donald Trump in an engrossment ceremony before transmission to the Senate for trial on Capitol Hill, in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

WASHINGTON (CN) — House impeachment managers delivered a single article of impeachment that will catalyze former President Donald Trump’s second Senate trial Monday night — the first time such a thing has happened in U.S. history.

Most Americans will never forget Jan. 6, 2021. At a gathering outside the White House dubbed the “Save America Rally” by the 45th president’s reelection campaign, Trump repeated false claims the 2020 election had been stolen — and encouraged his supporters to fight to overturn the results.

From there, the nation looked on as a mob of Trump supporters incited by his rhetoric overtook Capitol Police officers, occupying the seat of the U.S. government for hours. At the same time, lawmakers had been meeting in a joint session of Congress to count certified electors for President Joe Biden. They confirmed Biden’s win in the early hours of the following morning after the building was cleared of rioters.

Five people died during the siege, only the second time in U.S. history the building had been stormed; British troops set the building ablaze during the war of 1812. Many lawmakers immediately assigned responsibility for the attack to Trump, who told supporters at the rally to “fight like hell” or they wouldn’t “have a country anymore.”

House Democrats drafted a single article of impeachment the following week. Trump had committed the high crime of inciting an insurrection, they argued, and should be convicted of the crime — not only to prohibit his 2024 presidential bid, but to send a message forbidding future presidents from wielding their power with impunity during their final weeks in office.

The House voted to impeach the former reality television host for a second time by a 232-197 vote, including 10 Republicans who offered their support. With only four impeachment proceedings in U.S. history, half have now involved Trump.

As they did less than 18 months ago before Trump’s first Senate impeachment trial, a group of House lawmakers ceremoniously walked the article of impeachment across the Capitol to the Senate on Monday night.

Those impeachment managers — Diana DeGette, David Cicilline, Joaquin Castro, Eric Swalwell, Ted Lieu, Stacey Plaskett, Madeleine Dean and Joe Neguse — will present charges against Trump when the House presents its case in the coming weeks.

Maryland Democrat Jamie Raskin, who leads the impeachment managers, presented the article to some Senators who listened from their desks on the chamber floor.

He reiterated Trump’s direct involvement of the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, noting the president “willfully made statements that in context encouraged and foreseeably resulted in lawless action” at the Capitol. 

“Thus, incited by President Trump members of the crowd he’d addressed in an attempt in to among other objectives, interfere with the joint session’s solemn constitutional duty to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election, unlawfully breached and vandalized the Capitol, injured and killed law enforcement personnel, menaced members of Congress, the vice president and congressional personnel and engaged in other violent, deadly, destructive and seditious acts,” Raskin said.

Raskin said Trump’s conduct had followed efforts earlier that month to disrupt the certification of the 2020 election, including urging the Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to overturn that state’s presidential election results. Months before Congress’ joint session, Raskin noted, Trump had attempted to sow distrust in the election by making repeated false statements about its integrity.

“In all this, President Trump gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of government,” Raskin said. “He threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power and imperiled a coequal branch of government.”

A pool report from Monday evening notes Senator Patrick Leahy, who will proceed over the trial, snapped photos of the press in the Capitol Rotunda as reporters waited for members to walk the article to the chamber. Leahy is an avid photographer and was often seen with a camera during Trump’s first impeachment trial and other ceremonial events.

The report notes Statuary Hall, a section of the Capitol that bridges the House and Senate, was silent save the clicks of camera shutters as managers walked through.

Trump will have until Feb. 2 to give his initial answers to accusations against him. A trial can begin as soon as Feb. 9.

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