WASHINGTON — President Donald J. Trump has been impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives for a second time within four years, this time on a single charge of “incitement of insurrection” at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
Trump is the first president in history to be impeached twice. He could be removed from office if the Senate votes in favor of conviction.
The impeachment article brought against the president Wednesday, Jan. 13, claimed Trump “repeatedly issued false statements asserting that the presidential election results were the product of widespread fraud and should not be accepted by the American people or certified by state or federal officials,” which led to the riot at the U.S. Capitol one week ago.
An invasion of the U.S. Capitol by Trump supporters left five people, including a Capitol Police officer, dead. Supporters were at the U.S. Capitol to protest the certification of President-elect Joe Biden's Electoral College win in the Nov. 3 General Election. Biden's inauguration is Wednesday, Jan. 20.
U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Lithonia, who represents part of Newton County, was one of 232 members of the House to vote in favor of impeachment. The congressman issued a statement Wednesday afternoon, calling the president "dangerous" and "unfit" for office.
"As I continue to process the unprecedented events of Jan. 6 –when a violent insurrection incited by the president of the United States and his enablers took place at our nation’s Capitol – I have grown increasingly angry and concerned," Johnson said.
"I was one of dozens of lawmakers who were trapped inside the House chamber when the violent mob broke into the citadel of our democracy and began ransacking the building.
"We can’t allow mob rule to win the day. That’s why I supported the immediate removal of President Trump from office by way of the 25th amendment. Because the Vice President Pence and the cabinet didn’t act, I supported impeachment for the second time.
"Last week, one branch of government physically attacked another. It was a blatant attempt to circumvent the peaceful democratic rule of our country. We cannot turn away and go back to business as usual. The more we learn about the events leading up to and during the insurrection, the more troubling the details become.
"In addition to calling for the removal of this dangerous President, I’m also calling for the resignation of Alabama Congressman Mo Brooks, who offered an incendiary speech at the so-called “Stop the Steal Rally” prior to the insurrection.
"These actions and their devastating consequences are an indelible stain on our nation’s history, and demonstrate, unequivocally, that Trump and Brooks are not fit for offices they are sworn to serve.
"I will continue to pursue truth, transparency and accountability in my role as your legislator in Washington, and I promise to uphold the Constitution and the sacred trust you’ve placed in me."
Ten Republicans — none from Georgia — crossed party lines to vote in favor of Trump's impeachment. The remaining 197 Republicans opposed.
In order to be impeached, the House must pass articles of impeachment with a simple majority, as required by the Constitution. In order to be convicted of the House’s charges and removed from office, a two-thirds supermajority of present voters is required from the Senate after it holds a trial.
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has told reporters he won’t use emergency powers to bring the Senate back into session before Tuesday as originally planned, which means a trial of Trump likely wouldn’t begin until after he leaves office on Jan. 20.
Even if he’s out of office, the Senate could still vote to convict Trump of the incitement charge on a two-thirds vote. Should that pass, senators could vote with a simple majority to ban him from serving again in federal office.
By then, Georgia likely will have certified the results of its Jan. 5 Senate runoffs and sent two Democrats — Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock — to Washington. Once they’re seated and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris takes office, Democrats will have a majority in the Senate.
No impeached president has been convicted in a Senate trial. Andrew Johnson was spared by a single vote in the 1860s and Bill Clinton was more than a dozen votes away from being convicted in 1999.
Trump’s first impeachment came on Dec. 18, 2019, when the House adopted two articles of impeachment against him for 1) abuse of power and 2) obstruction of Congress. Trump was acquitted by the Senate on Feb. 5, 2020.
David Clemons, publisher of The Walton Tribune, contributed to this report.