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Highlights and analysis: House impeaches Trump for 'incitement of insurrection'

Trump is the first president to be impeached twice.
Image: Red bubbles show the Capitol, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Donald Trump with words about \"impeachment,\" \"election\" and \"insurrection.\"
Chelsea Stahl / NBC News

In a historic vote, the House of Representatives on Wednesday impeached President Donald Trump for urging his supporters to march on the U.S. Capitol last week, making him the first president to be impeached twice.

The article of impeachment, for "incitement of insurrection," was adopted by the Democratic-controlled House, 232 to 197, after several hours of debate. A group of 10 Republicans joined Democrats in voting to impeach Trump.

Democrats are prepared to send the resolution to the Senate immediately to allow a trial to determine whether to convict Trump and bar him from holding future office, although it is unclear when that trial will happen.

Trump has defended his speech at a march last week that helped incite a crowd of his supporters to violently storm the U.S. Capitol, calling it "totally appropriate" on Tuesday. That remark came just hours before the House approved a separate resolution calling on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove the president from office.

This live coverage has ended. Continue to read about the impeachment process from Monday and Tuesday and about the events leading up to the riot at the Capitol last week and its aftermath.

Read the highlights:

— Pence rejected House Democrats' demand to invoke the 25th Amendment as more Republicans back impeachment.

— "Mind-blowing" number of crimes committed during Capitol riot, 160 case files opened, say officials.

— "Chilling": Security tightens around the Capitol ahead of Biden inauguration amid "increased threat."

GOP Rep. wears 'censored' mask while speaking on House floor

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., who has repeatedly refused to wear a mask on the House floor, including last week before the Capitol riots, showed up for Wednesday's vote wearing a mask that said the word "censored" on it. She then delivered a speech that aired on multiple news outlets.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., walks on Capitol Hill on Jan. 13, 2021.Susan Walsh / AP

Pelosi to speak at lectern commandeered during Capitol riots

Trump releases tweet-sized statement urging demonstrations to remain peaceful

President Donald Trump released a tweet-sized statement through the press office on Wednesday, which was promptly read by Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, on the House floor. 

Trump wrote: “In light of reports of more demonstrations, I urge that there must be NO violence, NO lawbreaking and NO vandalism of any kind. That is not what I stand for, and it is not what America stands for. I call on ALL Americans to help ease tensions and calm tempers. Thank You.”

The Trump campaign also sent the statement to supporters over text message.

To resounding applause, Rep. Newhouse becomes 6th House GOPer to support impeachment

Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., said on Wednesday he would vote yes on impeachment, joining the five other House Republicans who have said they will vote to impeach the president.

"The president took an oath to defend the Constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic. Last week, there was a domestic threat at the door of the Capitol and he did nothing to stop it. That's why with a heavy heart and clear resolve, I will vote yes on these articles of impeachment," Newhouse said, to cheers from Democrats in the chamber.

In a statement released shortly before his brief remarks, Newhouse said he believed the nation and the Republic were in jeopardy if Congress did not "rise to this occasion."

He continued: “A vote against this impeachment is a vote to validate the unacceptable violence we witnessed in our nation’s capital."

McCarthy says Trump 'bears responsibility for Wednesday's attack'

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said in remarks on the House floor that Trump is to blame for last Wednesday's attack on the Capitol — but he shouldn't be impeached for it. 

"The president bears responsibility for Wednesday's attack on Congress by mob rioters. He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding," McCarthy said on the House floor before the impeachment vote. 

McCarthy, however, said he opposes impeaching Trump, suggesting the censure of the president and a bipartisan commission to investigate the events leading up to the riot might be the better options. 

'I'm not going anywhere': Cheney responds to calls for her ouster as part of GOP leadership

Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., said Wednesday that she has no plans to heed calls for her to step down as the third-ranking Republican in the House after backing Trump's impeachment.

"I'm not going anywhere. This is a vote of conscience," Cheney told a member of the press pool on Capitol Hill. "It's one where there are different views in our conference. But our nation is facing an unprecedented, since the Civil War, constitutional crisis. That's what we need to be focused on. That's where our efforts and attention need to be."

 

Gaetz draws boos from Dems as he blames left for inciting 'far more political violence than the right'

Speaking as the House debates a vote on impeaching President Trump a second time, Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., was loudly booed after he accused Democrats of setting cities on fire over the summer.

Gaetz, one of Trump's closest allies and defenders, called impeachment "an itch that doesn't go away with just one scratch," referred to what he called the "the Biden crime family" and mentioned the same false claims about a wrongfully decided election that led to last week's Capitol riot.

"I denounce political violence from all ends of the spectrum," Gaetz said. "But make no mistake, the left in America has incited far more political violence than the right. For months, our cities burned, police stations burned, our businesses shattered."

"Some cited the metaphor that the president lit the flame, well they lit actual flames, actual fires," Gaetz said, drawing loud boos from Democrats as he pointed to their side of the chamber. "And we have to put them out."

According to a pool report, as Gaetz began his speech, Rep. Andy Levin, D-Mich., lifted his right hand and pointed his finger to his head and twirled it as if to signal that Gaetz is crazy. He later shook his head several times through Gaetz's speech. 

Democrats shouted back at Gaetz as he ended his speech, giving him a smattering of boos and calling for "order" as the chair used the gavel to try to calm the scene.

Republicans continue to defy metal detectors as Capitol security ramps up

Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, R-Pa., passes through a metal detector before entering the House chamber, a new security measure put into place after a mob loyal to President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol on Jan. 12, 2021.J. Scott Applewhite / AP

House Republicans on Wednesday defied the newly installed metal detectors at the entrance to the chamber for the second day in a row ahead of the imminent vote on whether to impeach President Trump.

Matt Fuller, a reporter for HuffPost, recorded at least 12 GOP lawmakers either side-stepping the metal detectors or setting them off and continuing on to the House floor. They included Reps. Virginia Foxx of Virginia, Paul Gosar of Arizona, Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma and Louie Gohmert of Texas.

Read more here.

McConnell rejects request to hold impeachment trial before inauguration

A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., confirmed a report from the Washington Post's Seung Min Kim saying the Kentucky lawmaker had said he would not agree to reconvene for an impeachment trial before the inauguration.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., had urged McConnell to use an emergency provision that would allow them to come back earlier, but it would have required both leaders to agree to do so. 

Republican Senate leaders meanwhile were blindsided Tuesday after the New York Times reported McConnell was “pleased” that Trump was getting impeached, NBC News has learned.

McConnell’s leadership team, which includes Sens. John Thune, R-S.D., John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, Rick Scott, R-Fla., Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, were not given a heads up ahead of the story that made clear how McConnell felt about impeaching the president, multiple aides familiar with the days events tell NBC News.

NBC News has not independently confirmed the Times reporting, but McConnell’s office has not disputed the report and Republicans on Capitol Hill have been treating it as gospel. 

Trump grows defiant as the White House becomes a ghost town

President Donald Trump is set to be impeachedagain, on Wednesday, but this time, he will lack the megaphone of Twitter to respond and be without a robust and aggressive defense from his White House and allies.

Stripped of the ability to fire off real-time responses, Trump must rely on a White House staff that has largely been replaced with moving boxes as aides head for the exits and allies fail to offer a defense of him in public.

But the silence from the president shouldn't be interpreted as submission, those close to him say. Instead, Trump continues to cling to his false assertion that he won the election and is refusing pleas that he leave office days before his term expires because of his role in the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Read the story.