Trump Will Be the First US President to Be Impeached Twice as US House Prepares to Vote

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The US House is expected to impeach President Donald Trump for his encouragement of supporters who stormed the US Capitol last week. This vote would make him the first American president to be impeached twice.

While the previous three impeachments -- of Presidents Andrew Johnson, Bill Clinton and Trump -- had taken months before a final vote, including investigations and hearings, this time it will have taken only a week. After the rioting at the Capitol, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said "we must take action," and Democrats, and some Republicans, share her view ahead of the vote.

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For now, the Republican-led Senate is not expected to hold a trial and vote on whether to convict Trump before Democrat Joe Biden is sworn in as president on January 20. Still, Democrats feel that action by the House would send an important message to the country.

In normal order, there would be an impeachment investigation and the evidence would be sent to the House Judiciary Committee, which would hold hearings, draft articles and send them to the full House. That's what happened in 2019, when the House impeached Trump over his dealings with the president of Ukraine. It took three months.

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This time, with so few days to act, and a feeling among Democrats that there is little need to investigate what happened since most members of Congress heard Trump speak to his supporters and were in the Capitol when the mob broke in, impeachment is going straight to the House floor for a vote, which would come as soon as Wednesday.

Once the House votes to impeach, the articles and evidence would be sent to the Senate, where a trial would be held and there would be final votes to convict or acquit. That's what the Senate did in early February last year after Trump was impeached the first time.

Democrats will debate on a single impeachment charge: "incitement of insurrection."

Trump has claimed there was widespread fraud in the election, and the claims have been repeatedly echoed by congressional Republicans and the insurgents who descended on the Capitol. Just before the riots, Trump spoke to the supporters near the White House and encouraged them to "fight like hell."

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As the protesters broke in, both chambers were debating GOP challenges to the electoral vote count in Arizona as part of the process for certifying Biden's election win.

On Tuesday, five Republicans said they would support impeachment. No Republican supported Trump's first impeachment in 2019.

Republican Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the No 3 Republican in the House and the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, said she would vote to impeach Trump because "there has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution."

Cheney said Trump "summoned" the mob that attacked the Capitol last week, "assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack."

Once the House passes the articles, Pelosi can decide when she sends them to the Senate. Under the current schedule, the Senate is not set to resume full sessions until January 19, which is the day before Biden's inauguration.

If the trial isn't held until Trump is already out of office, it could still have the effect of preventing him from running for president again.