President Donald Trump was impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives and became the first president in American history to be impeached twice.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he has yet to make a final decision on how he will vote but intends to listen to the legal argument when they are presented to the Senate.
The vote comes a week after a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol. This time around, Trump was accused of “incitement of insurrection” and 10 Republican supported the move. The final vote was 232 to 197.
“The president must be impeached and I believe the president must be convicted by the Senate, a constitutional remedy that will ensure that the republic will be safe from this man who is so resolutely determined to tear down the things that we hold dear and that hold us together. It gives me no pleasure to say this,” Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi said. “It breaks my heart.”
Since Wednesday, many Democrats and Republicans have come out and condemned the actions against the Capitol. Trump issued a statement during the House’s debate, calling for the end of violence, lawbreaking and vandalism of any kind.
Mack Shelley, chair of the political science department said while it is not trivial, since the vote for impeachment only requires a simple majority Democrats have a much easier lift as opposed in the Senate. Convictions in the Senate and the removal of a president has yet to happen.
McConnell came out strongly against the insurrection at the Capitol. Shelley said McConnell has the power to call for a Senate trial but there is only a short amount of time for him to do so.
“It is partly that he wants to maintain some sense of control and not be seen as being pushed by Democrats into doing what the Democrats want,” Shelley said. “That would be almost literally, politically lethal to McConnell.”
McConnell is still calling the shots, at least until Vice President-elect Kamala Harris' seat in the Senate is filled. Shelley said because of this, there is no way for Democrats to compel the Senate to act on impeachment.
Although some Republicans came out against the insurrection, many continue to oppose the impeachment of Trump.
“It’s always been about getting the president, no matter what. It’s an obsession, an obsession that has now broadened.” said Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio. “It’s not just about impeachment anymore, it’s about canceling, as I’ve said. Canceling the president and anyone that disagrees with them.”
Shelley said McConnell is likely protecting some of his fellow Republican Senators from political-death in upcoming primaries.
“As long as Trump’s grip on the party stays really strong, these Republicans live in political-mortal fear of being primaried out of their job,” Shelley said.