WASHINGTON – The House is expected to impeach President Donald Trump on Wednesday for his encouragement of supporters who violently stormed the U.S. Capitol, a vote that would make him the first American president to be impeached twice.
While the previous three impeachments — those of Presidents Andrew Johnson, Bill Clinton and Trump — took months before a final vote, including investigations and hearings, this time it will have only taken a week. After the rioting at the Capitol, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said "we must take action,” and Democrats — and some Republicans — share her view.
For now, the Republican-led Senate is not expected to hold a trial and vote on whether to convict Trump before Democrat Joe Biden is sworn in Jan. 20. Still, Democrats feel that action by the House would send an important message to the country.
A look at what will happen in the next two days as the House moves closer to impeaching Trump in his last week in office:
THE BASICS OF IMPEACHMENT
In normal order, there would be an impeachment investigation and the evidence would be sent to the House Judiciary Committee, which would hold hearings, draft articles and send them to the full House. That’s what happened in 2019, when the House impeached Trump over his dealings with the president of Ukraine. It took three months.
This time, with so few days to act — and a feeling among Democrats that there is little need to investigate what happened, since most members of Congress heard Trump speak to his supporters and were in the Capitol when the mob broke in — impeachment is going straight to the House floor for a vote, which would come as soon as Wednesday evening.
Once the House votes to impeach, the articles and evidence would be sent to the Senate, where a trial would be held and there would be final votes to convict or acquit. That's what the Senate did in early February of last year after Trump was impeached the first time.