WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — After hours of debate on the House floor—where one week ago members of Congress hid and feared for their lives as insurrectionists breached the U.S. Capitol—Democrats and 10 Republicans voted to impeach President Donald Trump for a second time. Trump is now the only president in U.S. history to be impeached twice.
Among the 'yeas' were Maine Democratic Reps. Chellie Pingree and Jared Golden.
In a statement following the vote, Pingree said, “The impeachment of President Trump is a first step in a long process of healing in America."
On Monday, Golden announced his support for impeachment, saying, "I do this without reservation, as I have no question or doubt about the president's conduct and responsibility for last week's assault upon the United States Capitol and the United States Congress."
After the vote Wednesday, Golden said, “I have no doubt that the president bears responsibility for last week's assault on the United States Capitol, and I don’t believe there has ever been a clearer case for impeachment, removal from office, and disqualification from holding future public office.
"This was not a complex debate—last Wednesday’s assault upon the nation and our democracy played out in broad daylight, in front of the entire nation," Golden continued. "It was ugly and violent, and those responsible for the violence are guilty of a dark and bitter betrayal of the country."
Pingree's full statement:
“Today, against the backdrop of National Guard troops deployed to our Capitol to prevent another right-wing domestic terrorist attack, I voted with House Democrats and Republicans to impeach Donald Trump for high crimes and misdemeanors.
One week ago, our nation watched in horror as President Trump incited a mob of domestic terrorists to storm the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to prevent a peaceful transition of power. He sat on the sidelines as members of law enforcement were attacked and killed, and the lives of many members of Congress and their staff were put in danger. President Trump knew he had power to stop the violence but instead chose to sow the seeds of hatred and division.
The impeachment of President Trump is a first step in a long process of healing in America. This President has spent years spreading dangerous lies deliberately designed to erode trust in our institutions. This is what dictators do and how fascists rise – it is not how American Presidents lead. We cannot stand united when our leader is dedicated to tearing us apart.
There is bipartisan agreement in the U.S. House that a President who incites insurrection should not hold office. We must remove this dangerous man from office before he does any more damage to our democracy.”
Golden's full statement:
“Today, I voted to impeach the President of the United States for the incitement of insurrection, an act which clearly meets the threshold of ‘high crime and misdemeanor’ set forth by the Framers. I was joined by 231 of my colleagues, including 10 Republicans.
I have no doubt that the president bears responsibility for last week's assault on the United States Capitol, and I don’t believe there has ever been a clearer case for impeachment, removal from office, and disqualification from holding future public office. This was not a complex debate -- last Wednesday’s assault upon the nation and our democracy played out in broad daylight, in front of the entire nation. It was ugly and violent, and those responsible for the violence are guilty of a dark and bitter betrayal of the country.
Many of my colleagues who voted against today’s articles of impeachment know these things to be true but have willfully looked the other way for a variety of political considerations. This single fact should be repeated: the 2020 election was legal, free, and fair. The claims of the president and his allies in Congress that the election was stolen, that there was widespread voter fraud, or that states’ acted illegally in administering the vote, are baseless lies, and they know it. Legitimate evidence for these claims does not exist, as more than 60 court decisions at every level of our judicial system have ruled.
These articles of impeachment will next move to the United States Senate for trial.”
The House voted to impeach Trump for "incitement of insurrection" after he encouraged loyalists to “fight like hell” against election results and then a mob of his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol.
- 232 "Yea"
- 197 "Nay"
In a change from Trump's first impeachment over his dealings with Ukraine, ten Republicans broke with their party and voted to impeach. In 2019, no Republicans voted to impeach. Trump was later acquitted by the Senate.
Actual removal seems unlikely before the Jan. 20 inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden. A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Republican leader would not agree to bring the chamber back immediately, all but ensuring a Senate trial could not begin at least until Jan. 19.
Still, McConnell did not rule out voting to convict Trump in the event of a trial. In a note to his fellow Republican senators just before the House was to begin voting, he said he is undecided.
“While the press has been full of speculation, I have not made a final decision on how I will vote and I intend to listen to the legal arguments when they are presented to the Senate," McConnell wrote.
Maine Sen. Angus King, an Independent who caucuses with the Democrats, said Tuesday he would back impeachment efforts.
"To put our nation on the path towards healing, we must tell the truth, even if it’s uncomfortable," King said in a statement. "Let’s start with this clear and obvious fact: Donald Trump’s campaign to undermine our democratic system is the single most irresponsible act ever committed by a United States President in our history. He must be held accountable.”
Republican Sen. Susan Collins has not commented on impeachment, citing as a reason "the Senate's constitutional role in those proceedings, which includes sitting as a jury," her office said.
During Wednesday's arguments, several House Democrats called out Collins over the comments she made following Trump's last impeachment trial in which she said he "learned his lesson."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.