Donald Trump could become the first president in U.S. history to be impeached twice, as the House of Representatives prepares Wednesday to approve a charge of inciting an insurrection following the riotous invasion of the Capitol last week.
The resolution accuses the president of making “statements that, in context, encouraged — and foreseeably resulted in — lawless action at the Capitol,” during a speech outside the White House in the hours before the attack.
Unlike the last vote thirteen months ago, several Republicans are expected to vote in favor of impeachment on Wednesday, including Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the No. 3 House Republican.
“The President of the United States summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack,” Cheney said in a statement Tuesday evening. “Everything that followed was his doing. None of this would have happened without the President.”
Republican Reps. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, Fred Upton of Michigan and Jaime Herrera Beutler have also announced they will support impeachment, while Michigan Rep. Peter Meijer told CNN he is “strongly considering” voting to impeach.
Financial markets were largely taking the political events in stride, with the S&P 500 index
edging 0.2% higher Wednesday.
The House convened at 9 a.m. Eastern Time to consider the measure, and the vote on impeachment is expected to occur sometime around 3 p.m.
If the measure passes the House, the Senate would take up the question of whether to remove the president from office and whether to bar him from holding federal office again.
Two-thirds of the Senate would need to vote to remove the president, and it would have to pass a separate resolution to bar him from running for federal office again. After Senators-elect Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock are seated as soon as next week, there will be 50 senators caucusing with the Democrats — meaning 17 Republicans would have to vote to convict.
During the previous impeachment proceedings in the Senate in January 2020 the only Republican senator to vote to remove Trump from office was Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, but there are indications that there will be more support this time around.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the Kentucky Republican, has told associates that he thinks the president committed impeachable acts and that he is pleased Democrats are moving to impeach him, according to the New York Times.
Other Senate Republicans that may vote to remove the president from office include Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska.
If Mitch McConnell ends up supporting conviction, “that would provide cover for several other Republican Senators to follow suit,” according to Benjamin Salisbury, director of research and senior policy analyst at Height Securities.
“However, there is an open debate among those members eager to move beyond the Trump-era whether impeachment and debarment would close the chapter or make the President a martyr, exacerbating differences,” he wrote in a Wednesday note to clients.
A trial is unlikely to begin until the Senate is back in session on Jan. 19 though, just one day before Trump leaves office, because McConnell reportedly will not consent using a rule that allows the Senate to reconvene with the approval of just the majority and minority leaders of each party, rather than unanimous consent of all 100 senators.
That means that a Senate vote to remove the president from office would likely occur after Trump has already left office. A vote to remove the president, however, is required before the Senate could move to disqualify him from holding federal office again.