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Donald Trump became the first US president in history to be impeached twice when the US House of Representatives voted Wednesday to charge him with inciting last week’s mob attack on Congress.

“Today, in a bipartisan way, the House demonstrated
that no one is above the law, not even the president of the United
States,” Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi said after the vote.

The Senate will not hold a trial before January 20, when
Democrat Joe Biden assumes the presidency, meaning the real estate tycoon will
escape the ignominy of being forced to leave early.

He is set, however, to face a Senate trial later and if
convicted he might be barred in a follow-up vote from seeking the presidency
again in 2024.

“Donald Trump has deservedly become the first
president in American history to bear the stain of impeachment twice
over,” said Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer, who in a week’s time will
become Senate leader.

“The Senate is required to act and will proceed with
his trial.”

In the House of Representatives, the only question was how
many Republicans would join the lockstep Democratic majority in the 232-197
vote. At final count, 10 Republicans broke ranks, including the party’s number
three in the House, Representative Liz Cheney.

“I am in total peace today that my vote was the right
thing and I actually think history will judge it that way,” said Adam
Kinzinger, a vocal Trump critic and one of the Republicans who
crossed the aisle.

Holed up in the White House, Trump issued a
videotaped address in which he made no mention of impeachment or his ferocious
attempts to persuade half the country into believing that Biden’s victory was

Instead, the comments focused on an appeal for Americans to
be “united,” avoid violence and “overcome the passions of the

“There is never a justification for violence. No
excuses, no exceptions: America is a nation of laws,” Trump said.

Biden called Wednesday’s decision by lawmakers “a
bipartisan vote cast by members who followed the Constitution and their

Biden, who inherits the pandemic and an ailing economy amid
many other woes, urged the Senate to address his priorities such as approving
cabinet nominations while also dealing with Trump’s trial.

“I hope that the Senate leadership will find a way to
deal with their Constitutional responsibilities on impeachment while also
working on the other urgent business of this nation,” Biden said in a

Despite Trump’s denunciation of violence following the
mayhem inflicted by his followers when they invaded Congress, fears of unrest
are high.

Armed National Guards deployed across the capital, and
downtown Washington streets were blocked to traffic.

In the Capitol building itself, guards in full camouflage
and carrying assault rifles assembled, some of them grabbing naps early
Wednesday under the ornate statues and historical paintings.

Speech to mob

Trump survived a first impeachment almost exactly a
year ago when the Republican-controlled Senate acquitted him of abusing his
office to try and get dirt on Biden’s family before the election.

This time, his downfall was triggered by a speech he
delivered to a crowd on the National Mall on January 6, telling them that Biden
had stolen the presidential election and that they needed to march on Congress
and show “strength.”

Amped up on weeks of election conspiracy theories pushed
by Trump, the mob then stormed into the Capitol, fatally wounded one
police officer, wrecked furniture and forced terrified lawmakers to hide,
interrupting a ceremony to put the legal stamp on Biden’s victory.

One protester was shot dead, and three other people died of
“medical emergencies,” bringing the toll to five.

Pelosi told the chamber before the vote that Trump “must

“He is a clear and present danger to the nation that we
all love,” she said.

Democratic lawmaker Ilhan Omar branded Trump a
“tyrant,” saying that “for us to able to survive as a
functioning democracy there has to be accountability.”

But Nancy Mace, a newly-elected Republican congresswoman
said that while lawmakers “need to hold the president accountable,”
the speed of the impeachment “poses great questions about the

The top Republican in the House, Minority Leader Kevin
McCarthy, said that while Trump deserves censure, hurriedly
impeaching will “further divide this nation.”

McConnell open to impeachment

Trump, who has been stripped of his social media megaphones
by Twitter and Facebook and finds himself increasingly ostracized in the
business world, is struggling to impose his message — let alone any kind of

His refusal to accept any responsibility for the horrifying
scenes on January 6 — including his insistence Tuesday that his speech was
“totally appropriate” — has infuriated allies and opponents alike.

The main question now is to what extent former Republican
allies in the Senate will turn on their party’s figurehead once the Democrats
take over control of the chamber.

Current Senate leader, Republican Mitch McConnell, says he
will not call for an impeachment trial before Trump’s January 20 exit.

However, he said he is open to the possibility of voting to
convict Trump in a later trial after Biden becomes president.

“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 said.

The New York Times reported Tuesday that McConnell is
signaling privately that he believes Trump did commit impeachable

This presents a potentially fatal shift in the ground
under Trump’s feet, because it could lead other Republican senators to
join in convicting Trump with the goal of turning the page in the
turbulent relationship between the party and former reality TV host and real
estate magnate.

Abdul Gh Lone