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US House brings article of impeachment against Trump to Senate

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
In this file photo taken on January 12, 2021 US President Donald Trump boards Air Force One before departing Harlingen, Texas. (AFP photo)

The Democratic-controlled US House of Representatives has delivered its article of impeachment against former President Donald Trump to the Senate, launching the start of his second impeachment trial.

The House on Monday formally charged Trump with inciting insurrection in a fiery speech to his loyalists before an invasion on the Capitol earlier this month.

Nine House Democrats will serve as prosecutors and carry the article of impeachment to the Senate where Trump will face trial.

Trump is the only US president who has been impeached twice by the House and will be the first to face trial after leaving the White House.

Conviction in the Senate could result in a vote to bar him from running for office again, but the conviction is unlikely as only a few Republican senators may vote for impeachment, despite lingering anger among some Republicans over his recent actions.

A two-thirds majority vote would be required for his conviction which would require at least 17 Republican votes if every Democrat votes to convict Trump.

The US House impeached Trump over his role for the invasion on the Capitol on January 6 that left five people dead, including a member of law enforcement.

Trump was blamed for inciting an insurrection when the lawmakers were busy certifying the victory of Joe Biden in the disputed 2020 presidential election. Trump believes Biden did not win the election fairly, and that the vote was rigged to deprive him of second term.

The bipartisan effort kicked off in the lower chamber of US Congress in a bid to remove Trump from office before his tenure ended on January 20 but he completed his term.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell last week proposed that Trump's impeachment trial be delayed until mid-February.

McConnell proposed that the House send the impeachment charge to the Senate on January 28, and that Trump be given two weeks after that to prepare his pre-trial brief, before the Senate trial starts. He wants to give Trump’s legal team until February 11 to submit its pre-trial brief.

Leaders of the Senate, which is divided 50-50 with Democrats holding a majority because of the tie-breaking vote of Vice President Kamala Harris, have decided not to start the trial before February 9.

Several Republicans have condemned the violence and condemned Trump for inciting it.

Republican Senator Mitt Romney said on Sunday that the impeachment trial was necessary after Trump’s provocative call to his supporters.

“I believe that what is being alleged and what we saw, which is incitement to insurrection, is an impeachable offense. If not, what is?” said Romney, a staunch Trump critic.

Meanwhile, a number of Republicans in the Senate have opposed the impeachment. Senator Marco Rubio pronounced the trial “stupid” and “counterproductive” on “Fox News Sunday.”

“We already have a flaming fire in this country and it’s like taking a bunch of gasoline and pouring it on top of the fire,” Rubio said.

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