Will some Democrats vote against impeachment?

The US House of Representatives voted 232 to 197 to initiate impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump. A majority for the opening of an impeachment was considered certain, since the Democrats hold the majority in the parliamentary chamber. Ten Republicans also voted for Trump's impeachment, even though Trump belongs to the Republican Party.

A week after the storm on the Capitol, the Democrats accuse the outgoing president of "inciting a riot". During the deliberations, House Chairwoman Democrat Nancy Pelosi said, "He has to go. He is a clear and present threat to the country." Trump had incited "domestic terrorists" to fight back against his election defeat, Pelosi said. "You didn't come out of a vacuum." Trump was guilty of "inciting a riot". For this he must be held accountable.

The Republican minority leader in the House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy, sees the outgoing President as responsible for the violent storming of the Capitol by his supporters. McCarthy said in parliament that it was wrong to remove him from office with an accelerated procedure in the last few days of his term of office. Impeachment of the Republican would further heighten political divisions in the country, he warned. "The president is not without guilt. The president is responsible for Wednesday's attack on Congress by a seditious mob," McCarthy said. Trump should have "condemned" the mob immediately after the attack began, he said.

Joe Biden is sworn in as the new US President on January 20th. The Democrats want to lock Trump for future government offices by impeachment. If he were removed from office, he would not be able to run for president again in 2024. Such a process became necessary because Vice President Mike Pence refused to remove Trump on the 25th Amendment to the Constitution. The article allows the vice-president and the cabinet to declare the president unfit for office, thereby immediately removing power from him.

The Senate will not make a decision until next week

The decision on impeachment is made in the Senate. A two-thirds majority is necessary there. To achieve this, 17 Republican senators would have to side with the Democrats. Some Senate Republicans have openly opposed Trump but have not made a decision whether they will vote for impeachment. Donald Trump is the first US president to face a second impeachment trial.

Even after the House of Representatives launched the impeachment process on Wednesday, the Senate is unlikely to vote on Trump's impeachment this week. A spokesman for Majority Leader Mitch McConnell confirmed on Twitter a report by the Washington Post on Wednesday that the Congress Chamber would not be convened for an extraordinary session. The next meeting should take place on Tuesday, one day before the end of Trump's term in office.

While the members of the House of Representatives in the Capitol are discussing the impeachment of Trump, the security measures around the building have been massively strengthened. According to media reports, the FBI warned that there could be new violent protests around the swearing-in of Joe Biden next Wednesday. For this reason, the Secret Service, which is also responsible for guarding the President, took over the coordination of all security forces around the inauguration on Wednesday. It was originally planned that the Secret Service would only take over this task one day before Biden was sworn in.

Thousands of National Guard soldiers were already on duty around the Capitol on Wednesday. The Capitol Police Department is usually responsible for protecting the building. 15,000 soldiers of the National Guard are to be deployed by Biden's inauguration next Wednesday. The pictures show how the National Guards lay on the ground in corridors and halls and rested.

Trump has meanwhile called for no violence in the event of possible new protests on the occasion of the swearing-in of his successor. "In view of the reports of further demonstrations, I demand that there must be no violence, no violations of the law and no vandalism of any kind," said a statement sent by the White House on Wednesday. "That's not what I stand for, and that's not what America stands for. I urge all Americans to ease tension and calm their hearts."

Many roads around the Capitol are closed. Security forces set up checkpoints. Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser urged all citizens to avoid downtown until further notice and only watch the inauguration on screens.

© Sz.de/dpa/Bloomberg/hij/kit