President Trump

President Donald Trump speaks to supporters during a rally for his reelection bid and Georgia Republican candidates on Friday night, Oct. 16, 2020, at the Middle Georgia Regional Airport in Macon, Ga.

President Donald Trump became the first twice-impeached chief executive Wednesday. Ten Republicans broke party lines to accuse Trump with inciting insurrection in last week’s riot at the U.S. Capitol.

Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga., voted against the impeachment, as he did in December 2019 when the House charged Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

Trump was acquitted of both of those charges in a 2020 Senate trial.

In the more recent vote, House Democrats accused Trump of urging his supporters in the takeover of the Capitol Jan. 6 as Congress debated the Electoral College votes that sealed Trump’s loss to Democrat Joe Biden.

The impeachment article claims the president “repeatedly issued false statements asserting that the Presidential election results were the product of widespread fraud and should not be accepted by the American people or certified by State or Federal officials.”

It claims Trump’s speech at a rally last week encouraged the attack on the Capitol. Five people died, including a Capitol Police officer.

The article also cites Trump’s Jan. 2 phone call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, urging him as the state’s chief elections officer to “find” votes to overturn the results of the presidential election here for Biden.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called Trump a “clear and present danger.”

Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., admitted Trump “bears responsibility” for the events of last week but said impeachment wasn’t warranted.

Trump issued a statement urging calm.

“In light of reports of more demonstrations, I urge that there must be NO violence, NO lawbreaking and NO vandalism of any kind,” he said. “That is not what I stand for, and it is not what America stands for. I call on ALL Americans to help ease tensions and calm tempers. Thank you.”

In a video from the Oval Office, a sedate Trump tried to distance himself from the attack on the Capitol.

“Violence and vandalism have absolutely no place in our country and no place in our movement,” he said. “Making America Great Again has always been about defending the rule of law, supporting the men and women of law enforcement and upholding our nation’s most sacred traditions and values.

“Mob violence goes against everything I believe in, and everything our movement stands for.”

The House earlier voted largely along party lines to ask Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment. Pence and a majority of the president’s cabinet could remove Trump if they determine he is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.” But Pence has declined to do so.

The single impeachment article passed, 232 to 197. Hice, through his press secretary, declined to comment Wednesday afternoon.

Georgia’s eight House Republicans — Hice and Reps. Ric Allen, Buddy Carter, Andrew Clyde, Drew Ferguson, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Barry Loudermilk and Austin Scott — voted against the impeachment.

Reps. Sanford Bishop, Carolyn Bourdeaux, Hank Johnson, Lucy McBath, David Scott and Nikema Williams, the six Democrats in the Georgia delegation, voted for impeachment.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has said he won’t use emergency powers to bring the Senate back into session before Tuesday as originally planned, which means a trial of Trump likely wouldn’t begin until after he leaves office on Wednesday.

Even if he’s out of office, the Senate could vote to convict Trump of the incitement charge on a two-thirds vote. Should that pass, senators could vote with a simple majority to ban him from serving again in federal office.

By then, Georgia likely will have certified the results of its Jan. 5 Senate runoffs and sent two Democrats — Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock — to Washington. Once they’re seated and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris takes office, Democrats will have a majority in the Senate.

No impeached president has been convicted in a Senate trial. Andrew Johnson was spared by a single vote in the 1860s and Bill Clinton was more than a dozen votes away from being convicted in 1999.

Only one Republican, Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, crossed party lines to vote for Trump’s conviction last year.

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