WASHINGTON – When some Democrats were pushing for President Donald Trump’s impeachment in early 2019, it took around five months for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to back the idea.
This time, it only took a day.
Pelosi came out strongly Thursday in support of Trump’s removal — either by his own Cabinet or by Congress, if necessary — after pro-Trump supporters violently breached and ransacked the Capitol. The riots Wednesday came after Trump egged on the crowd at a rally near the White House.
On Friday, Pelosi told fellow Democrats on a private conference call that “we must take action.”
A congressional effort to impeach Trump would be unlikely to remove him from the White House, which he'll vacate Jan. 20 when President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in. There's little chance that the Republican-led Senate would hold a trial and vote on convicting Trump in less than two weeks.
Still, action by the House would still make Trump the first president in history to be impeached twice. And it could include a ban on holding public office, ending Trump’s ability to run in 2024.
A look at how impeachment works, and what Congress can do in the short amount of time until Trump’s term ends:
THE BASICS OF IMPEACHMENT