House Debates Trump Impeachment Charge as McConnell Says He Will Not Bring Back the Senate with Emergency Powers

click to enlarge President Donald Trump tours a border wall construction site near Alamo, Texas, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, has told associates he is pleased that Democrats are moving to impeach Trump, and believes that there may be enough Senate Republicans to convict the president. - DOUG MILLS/THE NEW YORK TIMES
Doug Mills/The New York Times
President Donald Trump tours a border wall construction site near Alamo, Texas, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, has told associates he is pleased that Democrats are moving to impeach Trump, and believes that there may be enough Senate Republicans to convict the president.

By Nicholas Fandos and Chris Cameron
The New York Times

The House undertook an emotionally charged debate Wednesday over impeaching President Donald Trump for a historic second time, as lawmakers marched toward an afternoon vote to charge him just one week after he incited a mob of loyalists to storm the Capitol and stop Congress from affirming President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the November election.

Returning to a heavily fortified Capitol, protected by thousands of National Guard troops, Democrats and Republicans traded impassioned arguments over the efficacy of charging the president at all and an article of impeachment that accuses the president of “inciting an insurrection” that led to the rampage by his supporters.


Summoning the darkest chapters of American history, Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California implored colleagues in both parties to embrace “a constitutional remedy that will ensure that the republic will be safe from this man who is so resolutely determined to tear down the things that we hold dear and that hold us together.”

“He must go. He is a clear and present danger to the nation that we all love,” she said, adding later, “It gives me no pleasure to say this — it breaks my heart.”

Republicans were split over the impending charge, with up to a dozen or more expected to back vote to impeach, and Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, embracing the effort as a means to purge Trump from the party.

The final vote after the debate is expected to pass, with a small but significant number of Republicans joining Democrats to impeach Trump, making him the first president to be impeached twice.


The most blistering condemnation by a Republican came from Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the No. 3 House Republican, who said there had “never been a greater betrayal by a president of the United States.”

House leaders were already planning to press their charge to trial in the Senate after Wednesday’s vote, but the timing was uncertain because the Senate was not in session.

McConnell’s office notified Democrats on Wednesday that he would not agree to their request to use emergency powers to bring the Senate back into session before Tuesday, an aide said. That likely means that a trial will not get underway until around the time of Biden’s inauguration next week, at the earliest.