Donald Trump became the first President of the United States to be indicted for the second time in Congress on Wednesday, a week before the end of his term which is coming to an end in a climate of extreme tension.
The House of Representatives, dominated by Democrats, voted in favor of this historic “impeachment” by 232 votes to 197.
The 74-year-old Republican billionaire, who will give way on Jan.20 to Joe Biden, 78, is accused of encouraging the Jan.6 assault by his supporters on Capitol Hill – which left five dead and shook the nation. American democracy.
“He has to go, he is an obvious and immediate danger against the nation we all love”, said shortly before Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic Speaker of the House, accusing her of having “incited to this insurrection, this armed rebellion”.
“No one is above the law, not even the president”, she commented after the vote.
In a video released by the White House, Donald Trump called on Americans from the Oval Office for “unity”, without mentioning his infamous second referral to trial. And if he still does not recognize the slightest responsibility in the violence of last week, he assured that their authors could not be his “real supporters”.
A few days before his departure for Mar-a-Lago, Florida, where he should begin his new life as a former president, Donald Trump appears very isolated.
Contrary to the act of impeachment in the Ukrainian case more than a year ago, adopted by the Democrats alone, ten Republican deputies voted this time in favor of referral to trial. Among them, Dan Newhouse hammered out that there was “no excuse for President Trump’s actions”.
This vote marks the formal opening of the impeachment procedure against Donald Trump, and it is now up to the Senate to judge him.
But this trial, which will not open before Joe Biden comes to power, raises many questions.
“There is simply no chance that you can conclude your trial in a serious and fair manner before the President-elect takes the oath.”, justified the leader of the Republicans in the upper house, Mitch McConnell.
The timetable therefore remains uncertain. For Democrats, the risk is that it monopolizes all the attention and obstructs legislative action at the start of the mandate by monopolizing the sessions.
“I hope the Senate will find a way to manage their constitutional responsibilities regarding the impeachment trial, while conducting the urgent affairs of the nation,” asked Joe Biden, citing among other things the confirmation of members of his cabinet, the relaunch the US economy, and the continuation of the Covid-19 vaccine distribution plan.
A few hours before the vote, and in a city of Washington under high tension, Donald Trump had launched a new late call for calm.
“NO violence, NO crime, NO vandalism,” he urged in a statement as new protests are announced for the weekend.
The federal capital, placed under very high security, was unrecognizable.
Military at the Capitol
Striking images: Hundreds of military reservists spent the night inside Congress, still sleeping on the floor as elected officials poured in.
Concrete blocks have been placed to block the main axes of the city center, huge metal gates surround many federal buildings, including the White House. The National Guard is everywhere.
Throughout the day, the debates were lively.
The elected Democrat Ilhan Omar called Donald Trump a “tyrant”. “We just can’t turn the page and do nothing,” she said.
Among the Republicans, the positions were more contrasted. Fervent supporters of the Republican billionaire have defended tooth and nail, like Jim Jordan who denounced “an obsession” of the Democrats.
But others have clearly distanced themselves.
“The president bears responsibility for the attack” on Congress “by rioters,” which he “should have denounced immediately,” admitted Republican MP leader Kevin McCarthy, calling for a “commission of inquiry” and the vote of a “motion of censure”.
He said, however, that an indictment so close to the end of his term would be “a mistake”.
McConnell excludes nothing
But in his camp, few elected officials share this analysis.
More worrying for the billionaire and his possible political future, Mitch McConnell made it known that he did not rule out voting his conviction.
“I have not made my final decision on my vote, I intend to listen to the legal arguments when they are presented to the Senate,” he wrote to his fellow Republicans in a note made public.
This clever, highly influential strategist could, if he gives a signal in favor of the conviction, help the Republican party turn the Trump page once and for all.
Democrats will take control of the upper house on January 20 but will need the rallying of many Republicans to achieve the two-thirds majority needed for conviction.
Despite his displayed confidence and the support of some very loyal elected officials, Donald Trump is more alone than ever after a series of resignations from his government and scathing criticism.
Criticized for having delayed, last Wednesday, in sending the National Guard, the Pentagon this time authorized the deployment of 20,000 soldiers for the inauguration ceremony scheduled for January 20 precisely on the steps of the Capitol, seat of Congress.