Trump impeached for ‘inciting’ US Capitol riot

The US House of Representatives has impeached President Donald Trump for “incitement of insurrection” at last week’s Capitol riot.

Ten Republicans sided with Democrats to impeach the president by 232-197.

He is the first president in US history to be impeached twice, or charged with crimes by Congress.

Mr Trump, a Republican, will now face a trial in the Senate, where if convicted he could face being barred from ever holding office again.

But he will not have to quit the White House before his term ends in one week because the Senate will not reconvene in time.

Mr Trump leaves office on 20 January, following his election defeat last November to Democrat Joe Biden.

The Democratic-controlled House voted on Wednesday after several hours of impassioned debate as armed National Guard troops stood guard inside and outside the Capitol.

The FBI has warned of possible armed protests planned for Washington DC and all 50 US state capitals ahead of Mr Biden’s inauguration next week.

In a video released after the vote in Congress, Mr Trump called on his followers to remain peaceful but he did not refer to the fact that he had been impeached. “Violence and vandalism have no place in our country… No true supporter of mine would ever endorse political violence,” he said, striking a sombre and conciliatory tone.

Impeachment charges are political, not criminal. The president was accused by Congress of inciting the storming of the Capitol with his 6 January speech to a rally outside the White House.

He urged his supporters to “peacefully and patriotically” make their voices heard, but also to “fight like hell” against an election that he falsely told them had been stolen.

Following Mr Trump’s remarks, his supporters broke into the Capitol, forcing lawmakers to suspend certification of election results and take shelter. The building was placed on lockdown and five people died.

The article of impeachment stated that Mr Trump “repeatedly issued false statements asserting that the presidential election results were fraudulent and should not be accepted”.

It says he then repeated these claims and “willfully made statements to the crowd that encouraged and foreseeably resulted in lawless action at the Capitol”, leading to the violence and loss of life.

“President Trump gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of government, threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power, and imperiled a coequal branch of government.”

Last week, 139 Republicans voted against accepting the result of the 2020 election and Mr Trump’s defeat. (Courtesy BBC)

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