- The US House of Representatives is debating rules on an expected impeachment vote against President Donald Trump, accusing him of “incitement of insurrection” for his behaviour and remarks leading up to last Wednesday’s siege of the US Capitol.
- Members are expected to vote on the article around 15:00 EST (20:00 GMT) and all eyes are on how many Republicans will join Democrats in voting to impeach.
- Several Republicans, including the third-highest ranking House Republican, Wyoming Representative Liz Cheney – the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney – have indicated they support impeachment.
- The move comes after Vice President Mike Pence said he would not invoke the 25th Amendment and declare Trump unable to perform duties.
Welcome to Al Jazeera’s coverage of US politics. This is Joseph Stepansky.
McClintock: ‘What did Trump actually say?’
Republican Representative Tom McClintock argued that Trump’s speech before the Capitol Hill riot did not amount to inciting violence.
“What did he actually say?” McClintock said, noting that Trump at one point in the speech, said that his supporters would be protesting “peacefully”.
“If we impeached every politician who gave a fiery speech to a crowd of partisans this Capitol would be deserted,” he said. “That’s what the President did, that is all he did. He specifically told the crowd to protest peacefully and patriotically, and the vast majority of them did.”
Jordan says Dems motivated by ‘politics and the fact they want to cancel the president’
Representative Jim Jordan, the first Republican to speak during the debate on impeachment, accused Democrats of being motivated by “politics and the fact they want to cancel the president”.
Jordan portrayed the second attempt to impeach Trump as the continuation of a Democratic vendetta against the president that preceded the Capitol Hill violence.
“It’s always been about getting the president, no matter what,” he said. He added that Democrats have been obsessed with “cancelling the president and anyone that disagrees with them.”
“And now with just one week left, they’re still trying,” said Jordan who has been the most vocal defender of Trump in the House since the mob attack.
“In seven days, there will be a peaceful transfer of power just like there has been every other time in our country but Democrats are gonna impeach President Trump again. This doesn’t unite the country,” Jordan said.
Pelosi opens debate on impeachment, says Trump ‘clear and present danger’
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has begun a two-hour period of debate proceeding a vote on an article of impeachment against Trump, calling the president a “clear and present danger” to the country.
“We know we experienced the insurrection that violated the sanctity of the People’s capital and attempted to overturn the duly recorded will of the American people,” Pelosi said. “And we know that the President of the United States incited this insurrection this armed rebellion against our common country.”
“He must go,” she said.
Pelosi called the rioters who breached the Capitol “domestic terrorists”.
“Those insurrectionists were not patriots. They were not part of a political base to be catered to. They were domestic terrorists and justice must prevail,” Pelosi said.
US House to debate on impeaching Trump after procedural vote passes
The House has voted 221 to 203 to begin debating an article of impeachment against Trump.
Debate will be two hours equally divided between Democrats and Republican.
A final vote on the impeachment of Trump is expected this afternoon.
Uncertain if Biden wants to see impeachment move forward: Analyst
Matthew Mackowiak, chairman of Potomac Strategy Group told Al Jazeera that one has to consider how holding Trump to account for the riot that occurred on Wednesday could divide the country and bring about potential violence over the next week.
“I was talking to a Republican member of congress yesterday who told me
that this week will be worse than last week in terms of violence. That
is a really scary thought,” Mackowiak said.“I do believe the inauguration is going to be a very safe event but there could be violent riots at that event as well.
“These are the considerations you have to take into account. When you’re in a leadership position, you don’t get easy decisions,” he said. “I’m not sure if President-elect Joe Biden really wants to see this impeachment move forward.”
“I’m sure he does want to see the president be held accountable, and everyone involved in criminal activity last Wednesday held accountable, but he cannot possibly want additional violence, additional division and additional uncertainty against his administration just one week from today,” Mackowiak said.
Full text: Donald Trump impeachment resolution
The House is expected vote on an article of impeachment against Trump, accusing him of “incitement of insurrection” for his role in egging on supporters before the Capitol Hill riots.
If the House impeaches Trump, the article will be sent to the US Senate, which is required to hold a trial to determine whether Trump should remain in office or be prevented from holding office in the future.
Red the full text of the article of impeachment here.
Here is the article of impeachment I just introduced, along with 213 colleagues, against President Trump for Incitement of Insurrection.
Most important of all, I can report that we now have the votes to impeach. pic.twitter.com/RaJIjzQSvm
— David Cicilline (@davidcicilline) January 11, 2021
New York City to cut ties with Trump over incitement
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has said that New York City will cut ties with Trump’s company, citing his incitement of violence at the US Capitol last week.
“The President incited a rebellion against the United States government that killed five people and threatened to derail the constitutional transfer of power,” de Blasio said in a statement. “The City of New York will not be associated with those unforgivable acts in any shape, way or form, and we are immediately taking steps to terminate all Trump Organization contracts.”
Contracts between New York City and the Trump Organization bring the company $17 million a year, according to the Washington Post.
New York City doesn’t do business with insurrectionists.
We’re taking steps to TERMINATE agreements with the Trump Organization to operate the Central Park Carousel, Wollman and Lasker skating rinks, and the Ferry Point Golf Course.
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) January 13, 2021
Jordan says Cheney should be removed from role: Report
Representative Jim Jordan, who has remained a steadfast defender of Trump, told reporters on Capitol Hill that Representative Liz Cheney, a Republican, should be removed from her role as the party’s third highest ranking member in the chamber.
“I think she’s wrong,” Jordan said of Cheney, the highest ranking House Republican to publicly support impeachment, the Washington Post reported.
When asked about the possible removal of Cheney from the post, Jordan replied House Republicans “ought to vote on that”.
Tracking the business backlash against Trump after Capitol siege
From social media bans to cancelled golf tournaments and city contracts, the business backlash continues after supporters of United States President Donald Trump stormed the US Capitol building last week.
The violent siege left at least five people dead and caused extensive damage. Now, Trump is facing a renewed impeachment drive as well as possible removal from office with only eight days to go before his term ends.
It’s a major blow for a reality TV star turned US president who has long boasted of his business acumen and styles himself as a master negotiator.
But Trump and his brand have become increasingly toxic as consumers demand that businesses, politicians, and other powerful figures take a stand against the outgoing US president and the assault on the democracy made in his name.
Here is a list of firms, institutions and cities cutting ties with Trump.
Airbnb to cancel DC bookings during Inauguration week
Home-sharing giant Airbnb and HotelTonight, which it bought in 2019, are blocking and cancelling all hotel reservations in the Washington DC Metro area during the week of President-elect Biden’s inauguration, it said on Wednesday.
“This decision was informed by inputs from our host community as well as local, state and federal officials,” Airbnb said in a brief statement.
Airbnb said it had banned from its platform some individuals who were found to have ties with hate groups or were involved in last week’s deadly storming of the US Capitol.
“We are aware of reports emerging yesterday afternoon regarding armed militias and known hate groups that are attempting to travel and disrupt the Inauguration,” Airbnb said.
The company did not immediately specify if its decision to block reservations was a result of a request from law enforcement agencies.
House voting on rule preceding debate on article of impeachment
The House is currently voting on a procedural motion that, if passed, will open the chamber to debate on the article of impeachment against Trump.
If the rule vote passes, the House will debate the article of impeachment for two hours before a final vote.
Republican Representative argues impeachment ‘ignores due process’
Republican Representative Guy Reschenthaler argued on the House floor that impeaching Trump “ignores all precedent and ignores all due process”.
Reschenthaler added: “Trump’s words would not even meet the definition of incitement under criminal statutes.”
Omar: ‘We cannot simply move past this or turn the page’
Speaking during a debate on rules preceding a debate on the article of impeachment introduced against Trump, Representative Ilhan Omar said of the Capitol Hill riot: “We cannot simply move past this or turn the page.”
“For us to be able to survive as a functioning democracy, there has to be accountability,” she said.
Hoyer tells reporters as many as 20 Republicans could vote to impeach
House Majority leader Steny Hoyer told reporters on Wednesday he expected between 10 and 20 House Republicans to vote in support of impeaching Trump.
So far, five House Republicans, including ranking member Liz Cheney, have said they intend to join Democrats.
Steny also said he expects the article of impeachment would be sent to the Senate as soon as its passed.
Spirited impeachment debate underway
Supporters of Trump’s impeachment along with his defenders are taking to the floor of the US House as debate gets underway.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer argued, “There has never been a greater betrayal by a president of the United States of his office and his oath of Constitution – to the Constitution.”
“There is no doubt in my mind that the president of the United States broke his oath and incited this insurrection,” he added.
Ohio Representative Jim Jordan, a steadfast supporter of Trump, argued that Democrats’ accusations are unfair and moving to impeach Trump is “frightening for the country.”
“Democrats can raise bail for rioters and looters this summer, but somehow when Republicans condemn all the violence, the violence this summer, the violence last week, somehow we’re wrong,” Jordan said, citing the Black Lives Matters protests and looting that took place in some cities in the wake of those protests.
“I do not know where all this goes, and this is frightening for the country. We should defeat this rule and defeat the impeachment resolution when it comes up,” Jordan added.
House presiding officer: “All members are reminded to wear face coverings while on the floor.”
Apparently, via @MEPFuller, this was directed at Rep. Jim Jordan.
Reminder: C-SPAN does not control cameras in the House chamber. pic.twitter.com/rHVUdYusaK
— Jeremy Art (@cspanJeremy) January 13, 2021
Some Republican legislators argue impeachment will further divide
While several House Republicans have indicated they support impeaching Trump, others have argued that doing so would further divide the country during the already fraught period.
“I can think of no action the House can take that is more likely to further divide the American people than the action we are contemplating today,” Republican Congressman Tom Cole said during debate on rules proceeding an expected debate on the impeachment article itself.
WATCH LIVE: US House of Representatives meet to consider an article of impeachment against President Donald Trump.
— Al Jazeera News (@AJENews) January 13, 2021
Debate on ‘rules’ begins ahead of impeachment vote
Debate proceeding a procedural vote, which will kick off debate on the impeachment article itself.
Legislators were expected to debate for one hour.
Opening the proceedings, Democratic Representative Jim McGovern, the chairman of the House Rules Committee, said: “We wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the president of the United States.”
McGovern recounted as Congress met to certify the election results at “a rally a mile and-a-half down Pennsylvania Avenue, Donald Trump was stoking the anger of a violent mob.”
“He said Vice President Pence has to come through and told the mob to walk down to the Capitol,” he said.
“We can’t have unity without truth and without accountability,” he said.
John Kelly says Trump suffering from a ‘manhood’ issue
Trump’s former chief of staff John Kelly has said the president cannot admit to making a mistake because “his manhood is at issue here”.
“I don’t understand it, although I had to deal with it every day,” said Kelly, a retired four-star Marine general, during an event in Des Moines on Tuesday, the Des Moines Register reported.
Trump made his first public appearance on Tuesday, but refused to take responsibility for allegedly egging on rioters before Capitol violence.
“People thought that what I said was totally appropriate,” Trump said.
Congresswoman accuses colleagues of giving ‘reconnaissance’ tours before Capitol breach
Representative Mikie Sherrill has said she saw members of Congress leading “groups” through the Capitol on January 5, a day before rioters breached the complex, calling it “reconnaissance for the next day”, New Jersey newspaper the Bergen Record reported.
Sherill made the statement during a Tuesday night Facebook live event, adding, “I’m going to see they are held accountable, and if necessary, ensure that they don’t serve in Congress.”
Sherill did not specify if the groups in question were Trump supporters who had come to the Capitol as Congress met to certify the vote.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: ‘I thought was going to die’
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a progressive Democrat, has recounted when rioters breached the US Capitol last week, saying “I thought I was going to die.”
Cortez, in a video posted on her Instagram, said: “I did not know if I was going to make it to the end of that day alive … “Not just in a general sense, but in a very, very specific sense.”
Cortez said she could not further explain her statement, citing “security concerns”, but said firmly “I thought I was going to die”.
US House opens Trump impeachment session
The Democrat-controlled US House of Representatives on Wednesday opened debate on an historic second impeachment of President Donald Trump over his supporters’ attack of the Capitol that left five dead.
Lawmakers in the lower chamber are expected to vote for impeachment around 3pm (20:00 GMT) – marking the formal opening of proceedings against Trump.
The president is expected to be impeached with bipartisan support.