“Today, in a bipartisan way, the House demonstrated that no one is above the law, not even the president of the United States,” Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi said afterward.
The Senate will not hold a trial before January 20, when Democrat Joe Biden assumes the presidency, meaning the real estate tycoon will escape the ignominy of being forced to leave early.
However, he is set to face a Senate trial later, and if convicted, he might then be barred in a follow-up vote from seeking the presidency again in 2024.
“Donald Trump has deservedly become the first president in American history to bear the stain of impeachment twice over,” said Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer, who in a week’s time will become Senate leader.
“The Senate is required to act and will proceed with his trial.”
In the House of Representatives, the only question was how many Republicans would join the lockstep Democratic majority in the 232-197 vote. At final count, 10 Republicans broke ranks, including the party’s number three in the House, Representative Liz Cheney.
“I am in total peace today that my vote was the right thing, and I actually think history will judge it that way,” said Adam Kinzinger, a vocal Trump critic and one of the Republicans who crossed the aisle.
Holed up in the White House, Trump issued a videotaped address in which he made no mention of impeachment or his ferocious attempts to persuade half the country into believing that Biden’s victory was fraudulent.
Instead, the comments focused on an appeal for Americans to be “united,” avoid violence, and “overcome the passions of the moment.”
“There is never a justification for violence. No excuses, no exceptions: America is a nation of laws,” Trump said.
But following the mayhem inflicted by his followers when they invaded Congress, fears of violence are high.
Armed National Guards deployed across the capital and central streets were blocked to traffic.
In the Capitol building itself, guards in full camouflage and carrying assault rifles assembled, some of them grabbing naps early Wednesday under the ornate statues and historical paintings.