US House to take Trump incitement charge to senate
Washington – The United States House of Representatives on Monday will formally charge former President Donald Trump with inciting insurrection in a fiery speech to his followers before this month’s deadly attack on the Capitol, signalling the start of his second impeachment trial.
Nine House Democrats who will serve as prosecutors will proceed through the building where hundreds of Trump supporters fought with police, leaving five dead, at about 7 p.m. on Monday, carrying the article of impeachment to the Senate where Trump will face trial.
A similar ceremony was carried out for Trump’s first impeachment trial last January, when the House clerk and sergeant at arms led a small procession of lawmakers through a hushed Capitol.
It will mark two historic firsts – Trump is the only US president to have been impeached by the House twice and will be the first to face trial after leaving office. Conviction in the Senate could result in a vote to ban him from holding future office.
Leaders of the Senate, which is divided 50-50 with Democrats holding a majority because of the tie-breaking vote of Vice President Kamala Harris, have agreed not to start the trial until February 9. That gives Trump more time to prepare a defense and allows the chamber to focus on President Joe Biden’s early priorities, including Cabinet appointments.
After a two-month campaign to try to discredit his election defeat, Trump on January 6 urged his followers to “fight” to overturn the result. A mob later descended on the Capitol, sending lawmakers into hiding and for several hours delaying Congress’ formal certification of Biden’s victory.
Ten House Republicans joined Democrats in voting to impeach Trump, a step akin to an indictment in a criminal trial. Senate Democrats will need the support of 17 Republicans to convict him, a steep climb given Trump’s continued popularity with Republican voters.
A Reuters/Ipsos poll on Friday found that 51 per cent of Americans thought the Senate should convict Trump. That largely broke down along party lines, with fewer than two in ten Republicans agreeing. (Reuters)