Alex Brandon / AP
One week after a violent mob broke through the U.S. Capitol, threatened lawmakers and forced evacuations, members returned to the floor of the house for an emotional and often angry debate over the president’s accusation, many claiming inciting a revolt that killed five people.
The House of Representatives approved an article on impeachment on Wednesday against President Trump for “inciting an uprising,” with 10 Republicans joining all Democrats by 232-197 votes. The article is now being addressed to the Senate, which is expected to meet again next week.
Crowds of National Guard troops were stationed around the Capitol building, and they lined the streets around the buildings that house members’ offices and the area where Joe Biden will be sworn in next Wednesday.
There was a round of applause for members of the Capitol police in the United States, which undoubtedly saved members, aides and reporters from a far worse outcome. But Washington and the country are still walking away from the photos of the attack. With the advent of more details on how the seriousness of the threats was conducted, the political consequences will certainly continue.
Here are 4 ways impeachment is already changing the political world:
1. President Trump is making history
President Trump has broken the rules since riding the Golden Escalator until his presidential campaign was announced in 2015. He now has a history book award that no president wants – the first to be impeached twice. He is also the president who has voted the most members of his own party for impeachment.
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The president’s strong support among Republicans in Congress during the impeachment in 2019 prompted all members of parliament to oppose the impeachment. These articles claim that the president is calling on a foreign government to intervene in the 2020 elections in its favor. Only one Senate Republican, Mitt Romney of Utah, voted guilty of an article on abuse of power.
2. The cracks of the Republican Party are in the open and are widening in real time
There are no signs that the presidential base is abandoning him, but the division among Republicans in Congress over the party’s future is accelerating after last week’s events and is happening in real time.
Now that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Has indicated that he will not stand trial until after Trump’s departure, the Senate vote now is whether Trump will be able to run again. There is some legal debate about whether it is binding, but in terms of the Senate Republicans’ approach, it will say a lot about their call on who should lead the party forward.
The process will essentially be a proxy for legislators to vote to sit on the Republican spectrum – as a loyal supporter of a president who has received widespread bilateral condemnation for his role in calling for far-right extremists to resort to violence, or as a member of a larger position who may want to revive the party’s conservative approach to fiscal issues and muscular national defense.
McConnell, who did not speak to Trump, told colleagues he did not rule out a vote to condemn the president. A week ago, no one could have thought there would even be a question.
Thassos Catopodis / Getty images
Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman, scheduled for re-election in mid-2022, has signaled that he, too, is open to rebuking the president. “If the Senate continues the impeachment process, I will fulfill my duty as a juror and hear the cases submitted by both parties,” he said in a statement after the House vote.
Illinois Republican Adam Kinzinger told the NPR that he believed “there is a good chance the Senate will vote to remove President Trump.” He said the number of senators who had planned to formally object to the election results had declined since the attacks, and said, “I think every day that passes, there will be people who regret not voting when more information came out. “
Those who broke with the president are well aware that they can isolate themselves. Wyoming Republican Republican leader Liz Cheney, Republican leader number 3, was one of 10 to support impeachment. She never spoke on the floor of the House and made it clear that she thought it was a voice of conscience, but her voice could potentially cost her the leadership seat.
The spotlight is now on those senators who may want to bid for the White House in 2024 – Missouri Senator Josh Hawley and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz have chosen the Trump-based Champions League. Others, such as Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, who opposed efforts to challenge the January 6 electoral vote, could take the mantle of the conservative establishment.
3. The program of President-elect Biden is becoming more complicated
Even before Wednesday’s vote, Biden’s allies were openly worried about what would start the impeachment train, which would mean the incoming president’s ability to secure Senate confirmation for his cabinet nominees and push for top priorities such as relief. of the coronavirus. Now that the reality is coming, the process will probably begin shortly after Biden takes office. California Speaker Nancy Pelosi has appointed impeachment managers and the articles are expected to be delivered to the Senate soon, probably before returning to the Jan. 19 session.
It is unclear who will defend the president. Tamara Keith of NPR reports that three of the lawyers – Jay Sekulov, Jane Ruskin and Marty Ruskin – who worked for the team last time will not be part of a trial this time. But whoever chooses the president can set the tone.
Biden said he was consulting with senators and parliamentarians to move forward with a process and still hold hearings and votes of top agency executives, but the constant news of the uprising kept him on the front pages and the leading story of most newscasts.
“Impeachment is now like a primary scream,” said Tennessee Democratic Representative Jim Cooper. But he said the Democrats’ “main goal” should be to get the two new Democratic senators in Georgia, John Osoff and Rafael Warnock, and all chambers to work to help the new administration succeed. He said the Senate could “walk and chew gum” at the same time.
4. The US Capitol has been changed forever until January 6
Images of magnetometers around the House chamber, National Guard soldiers dozing on marble floors laying down weapons, and the remains of broken windows show that things have changed dramatically in the building. The symbol of democracy was a frequent pre-pandemic tourist attraction for school groups learning about the country’s founders and history. She now has a new image of what could happen when political rhetoric incites supporters to turn against her opponents.
Thassos Catopodis / Getty images
The new security measures are likely to remain for some time. Although members praised law enforcement and there are startling stories about those who fought the mob, many lawmakers have questioned the leadership of the force in the face of serious security failures, and the inevitable lengthy investigation could lead to much more disturbing information.
But the legislators themselves have also changed. Several Democrats accused civil lawmakers during the impeachment debate of being “conspirators” and “accomplices” in the attack – a serious charge, but they did not provide evidence. It was already difficult for lawmakers to develop a relationship between the aisles, with many members no longer moving families to Washington. Members rarely communicate with members of another party. The level of trust has really changed in the last week. Some Democrats have already promised not to work with Republicans who voted in favor of challenging the election results.
The fast-paced series of events gave members some time to work on how to return to the legislative business. Three major events in three weeks – an uprising on the day Congress met, which is usually a ceremonial task of counting the electoral vote, followed by lightning-fast impeachment and taking office, which will be reduced to a health crisis, made the first days of a new congress historically in many ways