UNPRECEDENTED: Trump impeached for second time in presidency over inciting Capitol attack

U.S. President Donald Trump returns after visiting the U.S.-Mexico border wall, in Texas
U.S. President Donald Trump gets out of a vehicle at the McAllen-Miller International Airport after visiting the U.S.-Mexico border wall, in McAllen, Texas, U.S., January 12, 2021. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

For the second time in his presidency, Donald Trump has been impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives — this time, for inciting the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by an angry mob of his supporters.

It is the first time in American history that any president has been impeached twice during their term. 

The article of impeachment — supported by all Democrats and a handful of Republicans — alleges that Trump had spurred the insurrection upon the Capitol a week ago, in which thousands of his supporters breached the heart of American democracy, smashing windows, vandalizing property and getting into physical clashes with Capitol Police officers. Five people, including a Capitol Police officer, died as a result.

Eleven of New York City’s 12 Members of Congress voted to impeach the president again; the lone holdout was Nicole Malliotakis of Brooklyn/Staten Island, the only Republican in the city’s delegation.

Manhattan/Brooklyn Congressman Jerrold Nadler, who chairs the House Judiciary Committee and served as a manager over Trump’s first impeachment trial last winter, presided over the Democratic side over Wednesday’s debate on the incitement of insurrection article.

Nadler said Trump “unleashed the force of a mob on this, the People’s House” and “encouraged that attack with the explicit intent to disrupt a joint session of Congress, an attack that threatened the safety of the Vice President, the Speaker of the House, and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, the next three officers in the line of succession.”

U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) speaks during debate ahead of a House of Representatives vote on impeachment against U.S. President Donald Trump for his role in last week’s siege of the U.S. Capitol, formally charging Trump with inciting insurrection in a speech shortly before the riot, in this frame grab from video shot inside the House Chamber of the Capitol in Washington, U.S., January 13, 2021. House TV via REUTERS

The vote came a week after the Jan. 6 coup attempt. Thousands of National Guard troops are now in Washington working to ensure it remains safe for next week’s inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.

Prior to his support of the impeachment article, Brooklyn/Queens Congressman Hakeem Jeffries took to social media to say “Today the House will impeach President Trump. For a second time. To protect the safety and well-being of the American people.” 

“Donald Trump is a living, breathing impeachable offense,” Jeffries said on the House floor Wednesday.

“President Trump instigated this and must be held accountable,” Congressman Tom Suozzi said in a statement following the vote. “The president’s duty is to protect our republic and its people. Yet, he built a mob, filled it with lies, and encouraged it to ‘fight to stop the steal.’”

“Mr. President, you have not put America first and now you must be removed,” he added. 

Congresswoman Grace Meng, who was holed up in her office during the raid, echoed her colleague’s sentiments. 

“As I said last week, President Trump is a danger to our nation,” Meng said. “The president must be held accountable for fueling a seditious assault on the U.S. Capitol, and failing to take steps to stop the violence. He is a vital threat to our country and our Constitution. For the good and safety of our nation, and to defend our democracy, it is imperative that President Trump is removed from office at once and barred from holding public office in the future. The Senate must now act expeditiously.”

Malliotakis, meanwhile, will vote against the measure, claiming voter fraud in states like Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, referring to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s remarks after President George W. Bush’s reelection in the 2004 national election.  

“It is the duty of Congress to oversee the certification of electoral votes and taking the lead of @SpeakerPelosi in 2005, have robust and respectful debate. It is not our duty to simply serve as rubber stamps,” she wrote on Twitter.

After the impeachment vote, Bronx/Queens Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez posted a video to Twitter in which she ripped those Republicans who opposed the impeachment. Just 10 Republicans joined the 222 Democrats who voted in favor of impeachment.

“I don’t ever want to hear or see the Republican Party talk about blue lives ever again,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “this was never about safety for them. it was always a slogan, b/c if they actually cared about rule of law, they would speak up when people break the law. … They would enforce fairness and equity, but they don’t give a damn about the law. … They give a damn about white supremacy.” 

The approved article now goes to the Senate for a trial. 

It appeared unlikely that the extraordinarily swift impeachment would lead to Trump‘s ouster before the Republican president’s four-year term ends and Biden is inaugurated on Jan. 20. The Senate’s Republican majority leader, Mitch McConnell, rejected Democratic calls to convene the Senate in emergency session to begin an immediate impeachment trial, according to a spokesman.

Two-thirds of the vote of the assembled Senate are required to convict an official on an article of impeachment. A guilty verdict on this impeachment article would result in Trump being disqualified from holding public office in the future.

With reporting by Aidan Graham and Reuters

This is a developing story; check with amNY.com later for additional updates.