The Capitol Riots and Trump’s Second Impeachment: What You Need To Know
Written by Yasmin Miranda
January 21, 2020
On Wednesday, January 6th, 2021 a mob of Donald Trump supporters breached and stormed the United States Capitol in Washington D.C. This was the first time the Capitol had been invaded since the War of 1812.
It all started with a rally that ultimately resulted in five total deaths, one of a police officer and four of rioters at the Capitol building.
At noon last Wednesday, President Donald Trump held a rally on the south side of the White House, where he called for his supporters to stop the certification of Incoming-President Joe Biden which was taking place that same day only miles away at the Capitol. Many of those attending the rally marched to the Capitol. They were not the only ones. At the Capitol there were already protestors crowding the west perimeter of the Capitol. Around 2 P.M. on a different side of the Capitol, on the west side, where police presence was not as strong, rioters breached the Capitol and entered the building. Soon after the Senate went into recess and senators raced for safety as the mob turned more violent, beating a number of officers along the way. At around the same time, two pipe bombs were reported to have been found at the DNC and RNC buildings, just mere miles away from the Capitol. The President later released a video asking for his supporters to go home, calling them “patriots”. Yet, he insisted on baseless election fraud allegations.
Image Credit: NBC News // 2021
It wasn’t until 8 P.M that Congress was able to restart the certification process on the Senate floor after the insurrection lasted for hours.
This insurrection resulted in five deaths and numerous arrests. Among those who died was a police officer, Brian Sicknick who was beaten to death with a fire extinguisher and a rioter who tried to breach the Speaker’s Lobby on the Senate floor. As of January 17th, 2021 over 70 people have been arrested The New York Times and USAToday report. The confusion as to why the Capitol was badly secured and defended were later answered with allegations that the President refused to call on the National Guard as rioters stormed the Capitol.
Soon after the riot and invasion of the Capitol, Democrats called for the President to be impeached, for him to resign, or for the 25th Amendment to be invoked by the Vice President, Mike Pence, for inciting the violence at the Capitol. After calls for invoking the 25th Amendment were rejected, on January 13th, 2021 the House of Representatives voted 232 to 197 to impeach the President. The impeachment articles not only called for Trump’s immediate removal from office, it also called for blocking him from ever running for office again, although this would be up to the Senate to decide. Nancy Pelosi, House Speaker, calling Trump a “danger to the nation”. This is the first time in American History that a president has been impeached twice.
After his impeachment, Donald Trump released a video condemning the violence at the Capitol, but took no responsibility for it. Notably, the President was also banned from numerous social media platforms, such as Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Tik Tok, and platforms such as Google, Amazon, Shopify, and others.
Rioters who were arrested after the insurrection at the Capitol have made pleas for pardons, citing that they “answered the call of my president”. Now many of them face federal charges.
It is still unclear when the Senate will reconvene to discuss an impeachment trial, but has not happened yet despite Joe Biden’s inauguration and swearing into office occurring yesterday afternoon at the same State Capitol Building where this attack occurred. Donald Trump has left the office with the lowest Presidential approval rating, 29%, of his term.
Trump’s Impeachment Trial: So What Happens Next?
Image Credit: US News & World Report // 2021
It is somewhat unclear where we go from here. This situation of impeaching a President as he leaves from office has never happened in the history of the United States, and how exactly Congress proceeds with this matter within the coming weeks will set the precedent for the years to come (should this situation ever arise again). Since former President Trump has been impeached by the House of Representatives, there is the possibility for a trial in the United States Senate to still occur as an effort “remove him” from office, despite him no longer being the sitting President of the United States. This would eliminate the possibility of him ever running for public office again, being that he has only completed one Presidential term and is still technically eligible to run for a second term in 2024.
This is the first time in our nation’s history that a President has been impeached so late into their first term. Being that the Senate is now controlled by a Democrat Majority, it is now up to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to send over the Articles of Impeachment to the new Senate Majority Party Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and allow them to figure out the specifics of an impeachment trial.
[UPDATED BY JENNIFER BELL on January 21, 2021 at 3:07pm]