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Watch live: House conducting impeachment hearing against President Trump

Donald Trump
Posted at 9:26 AM, Jan 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-13 11:28:21-05

President Donald Trump will likely become the first president in U.S. history to be impeached twice during his time in office on Wednesday, as Congress considers his role in last week's riot at the U.S. Capitol that killed five people. The House of Representatives is considering one article of impeachment against Trump — inciting an insurrection. In the early debate of the article on Wednesday morning, Democrats argued that while Trump will be leaving office soon, he must be held accountable for his actions.

"For years we have been asked to turn a blind eye to the criminality, corruption, and blatant disregard to the rule of law by the tyrant president we have in the White House," Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minnesota, said. "We as a nation can no longer look away."

Several Republican members rose to argue that the Democrats' push to impeach was rushed. Rep. Nancy Mace, a newly-elected congresswoman from South Carolina, said that while she thought Trump needed to be held accountable for his actions, she did not feel she could vote in favor of impeachment.

Unlike Trump's first impeachment — where the House charged him with "abuse of power" and "obstruction of Congress" — this time, the push to charge Trump comes with bipartisan support. Five Republican House members — Reps. Herrera Beutler, R-Wa., John Katko, R-N.Y., Liz Cheney, R-Wy., Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill. and Fred Upton, R-Mich. — have said they plan to vote to charge Trump.

In late 2019, no Republicans voted for impeachment, and a handful of Democrats voted against charging Trump as well.

The House's move to impeachment comes after a resolution passed on Tuesday night calling on Vice President Mike Pence and the cabinet to consider their powers under the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office. Prior to the vote, Pence released a statement saying that he did not plan to invoke the 25th Amendment.

"I do not believe that such a course of action is in the best interest of our Nation or consistent with our Constitution," Pence said.

If half the members in the House vote for impeachment on Wednesday — which seems likely, with Democrats in control — a trial will be held in the Senate in the coming days and weeks. After the trial, if two-thirds of Senators vote to impeach, Trump would be the first president convicted in an impeachment trial.

It's very likely that Trump will have already left office by the time the Senate concludes its trial. Democrats say it's vital to complete the impeachment process to hold him accountable for his actions.

If Trump is convicted in the impeachment process, the Senate could also vote to bar Trump from holding public office ever again — which would prevent him from running for president in 2024.

While Sen. Mitch McConnell — the most powerful Republican in the upper chamber — often sways his fellow Republicans to toe the line, reportedly said Wednesday that he would allow his fellow Senators to vote as they see fit.

The New York Times reports that McConnell is "pleased" with the impeachment efforts, seeing it as a way to "purge" Trump from the Republican party.

Moments before last week's riot, Trump addressed supporters at a rally on the National Mall, where he encouraged supporters to go to the Capitol building and encourage lawmakers to use a largely ceremonial rubber-stamp session to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

"We're going walk down to the Capitol, and we're going to cheer on our brave senators, and congressmen and women," Trump said at that speech. "We're probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them because you'll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength, and you have to be strong."

The riots briefly disrupted the electoral certification. Video from the riots showed some insurrectionists calling for Pence's execution, following his decision to follow his Constitutional duty and not overturn the election.