Washington — The House of Representatives voted to impeach President Trump Wednesday for inciting an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, cementing his place in history as the only president to be impeached twice. The bipartisan rebuke was approved with unprecedented speed and will now head to the Senate, where the president faces trial.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he has not made a final decision on how he will vote — a marked departure from the previous impeachment trial last year in which he voted to acquit the president.
He also said the Senate could not finish a trial before President-elect Joe Biden takes office next week, on January 20. The Senate is set to reconvene a day before that.
“The Senate process will now begin at our first regular meeting following receipt of the article from the House,” McConnell said Wednesday.
“In light of this reality, I believe it will best serve our nation if Congress and the executive branch spend the next seven days completely focused on facilitating a safe inauguration and an orderly transfer of power to the incoming Biden Administration,” he said.
If the Senate trial stretches into Mr. Biden’s term, the Senate could conceivably still choose to convict Mr. Trump and bar him from holding any federal office in the future, although scholars differ on the constitutionality of holding a trial once the accused has left office. A vote to convict would require a two-thirds majority of the Senate.
Mr. Bidenhe hopes the Senate leadership “will find a way to deal with their Constitutional responsibilities on impeachment while also working on the other urgent business of this nation.”
“I have often said that there is nothing we can’t do, if we do it together. And it has never been more critical for us to stand together as a nation than right now,” he said.