Washington, Jan. 12: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi heads to the House chamber for the last vote of the day at the U.S. Capitol. Lawmakers voted to demand that Vice-President Mike Pence use the 25th Amendment to remove Donald Trump from the presidency, but Mr. Pence refused.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Latest updates

  • The House of Representatives votes Wednesday on whether President Donald Trump should be impeached for incitement to insurrection after Jan. 6s attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob. At least five Republicans have said theyll support the Democrats, but its unclear when impeachment proceedings would head to the Senate for a trial: Theres only a week before president-elect Joe Biden is sworn in on Jan. 20.
  • The House voted 223-205 on Tuesday night to direct Vice-President Mike Pence and cabinet to remove Mr. Trump right away by deeming him unfit for office under the 25th Amendment. The resolution was non-binding, and hours before the vote, Mr. Pence said he wouldnt do that.
  • Mr. Trump spent Tuesday in Alamo, Texas, for a farewell tour of his U.S.-Mexico border wall, his first public appearance since the incendiary Jan. 6 rally. Mr. Trump said Tuesday that his speech was totally appropriate, that there is tremendous anger in the country over the prospect of his impeachment, but there should be no violence.

Impeachment explained
A broken window is seen in the House chamber on Jan. 7 after a mob, encouraged by President Donald Trump, stormed the building during a joint session of Congress.
Jonathan Ernst/Reuters
The House of Representatives impeached Donald Trump once before, in 2019, but the Senate acquitted him two months later and he avoided removal from office. This time, lawmakers dont have that much time to hold him to account for inciting Jan. 6s Capitol Hill riot: The inauguration of Joe Biden is on Jan. 20. Heres how theyre skiping a few steps to complete at least part of the impeachment process before inauguration day.
Articles of impeachment against Trump
To impeach, Congress has to write up specific allegations of wrongdoing, called articles of impeachment, that point to high crimes and misdemeanours committed by the president. Last time, there were two articles: One alleged Mr. Trump abused his power by threatening to withhold U.S. military aid so his Ukrainian counterpart would investigate Mr. Biden, the other alleged that Mr. Trump obstructed justice to cover this up. It took the fall and winter of 2019 to come up with the wording of the articles because the alleged crimes took place largely behind closed doors, and the House Judiciary Committee held hearings first to sort out conflicting accounts of what happened.
This time, Mr. Trumps offence encouraging a crowd of thousands to fight like hell for him while Congress was confirming his rivals Electoral College votes took place on live television, as did the deadly and destructive mob attack on the legislature that followed. So the Democrats didnt wait long: They introduced a single impeachment article on Jan. 11 accusing him of incitement of insurrection. It argues that his incendiary remarks encouraged and foreseeably resulted in lawless action at the Capitol and gravely endangered the security of the United States. If the article is passed by a simple majority at Wednesdays session, the president is considered impeached.
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Senate trial
The Senate is the only body that can hold a trial to remove an impeached president from office. Last time, the Senate was Republican-controlled and it voted to acquit Mr. Trump of both abuse of power and obstruction of justice. This time, the Democrats will have a narrow majority, but not until after the swearing-in of vice-president Kamala Harris (which happens on Jan. 20, inauguration day) and two Democratic Georgia senators (which can happen only after their runoff election results are certified).
Rather than send the impeachment results to the Senate immediately, the more likely strategy championed by House Democrat Jim Clyburn is to wait until after Mr. Bidens first 100 days in office. This would be too late for an early removal of Mr. Trump, but it could be an effective way to limit Mr. Trumps future political influence (more on that later).
Senate vote
Mr. Trump would be represented by a lawyer in the Senate trial, and its not yet clear who would be willing to take that assignment. One possibility would be Rudy Giuliani, the Trump loyalist who tried unsuccessfully to reverse Mr. Trumps defeat in the 2020 election. To convict, two-thirds of the Senate will need to vote in favour of removal from office, which means at least some Republicans must be on board.
A Trump campaign sign lies in the Capitol Reflecting Pool on Jan. 9 as the Capitol Hill riot clamped down security across the nation’s capital.
Al Drago/Getty Images
The 25th Amendment explained
There was a simpler and faster alternative to impeaching Mr. Trump, but Vice-President Mike Pence refused to support it despite a House resolution on Tuesday that asked him to.
The 25th Amendment was introduced in the 1960s, after the Kennedy assassination, to create a formal process for the vice-president to assume power if their boss were killed or incapacitated. The part that might apply in Mr. Trumps case is in Section 4:
Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.
The vice-president has a lot of legal room to interpret unable very broadly, not just in medical terms. In other words, the Vice-President and cabinet could have decided Mr. Trump was mentally unfit to be President and made Mr. Pence the acting president immediately.
Alternatively, Congress could have issued a law designating some group other than the cabinet to make this call, as Ms. Pelosi proposed to do with a special panel, but the final resolution did not do this.
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What would removal from office mean for Trump?
A masked Trump supporter takes part in a Jan. 9 rally in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Ringo Chiu/Reuters
No more in 24
U.S. presidents are limited to two terms each, but theres little to stop a one-term president from running again four years after a defeat, as Grover Cleveland did successfully in the 1890s. One thing that could stop Mr. Trump from doing this is removal through impeachment. The Senate wouldnt even necessarily have to convict Mr. Trump to do this: After voting on the impeachment, they can hold a disqualification vote that would bar him from future office.
Removal through impeachment would be a small but significant blow to Mr. Trumps finances because itd disqualify him from the pension, health insurance and office and security budgets that ex-presidents are entitled to.
Reconciling the parties
For Mr. Biden, whos taking power with a message of bipartisanship and healing divisions, the longer-term benefit of either impeachment or a 25th-Amendement process would be to show Democrats and Republicans working together after years of seeing each other as intractable enemies. This is one reason why Mr. Biden is largely staying out of discussions about whether to impeach Mr. Trump, saying that what the Congress decides to do is for them to decide.
Commentary and analysis
David Shribman: The Capitol a long-time symbol of optimism has lost its shine
Seth Moulton: We must unite by demanding accountability to the law
Debra Thompson: The insurrection in Washington shows police decide who to protect and to serve
Anna Feigenbaum: Police in America have a long history of protecting far-right voices
Compiled by Globe staff
With reports from Adrian Morrow, The Associated Press and Reuters
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