On Jan. 13, former President Donald Trump became the first president ever impeached more than once.
He was charged with inciting violence on Jan. 6 when a mob of his supporters stormed the Capitol, breaking into Congress and the offices of certain representatives while police were largely absent.
Police officer Brian Sicknick and four participants died that day. A second officer Howard Liebengood died by suicide three days later, and a slew of other officers sustained injuries.
Richard Barnett of Gravette, Arkansas, broke into Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi’s office, stealing her laptop and posing for pictures with his feet on her desk.
However, that was far from the only consequence of what many considered an attempted coup d’état. Three Trump administration officials — Elaine Chao, Betsy DeVos and Chad Wolf — resigned, and the president was banned from virtually all social media platforms, some temporarily and some indefinitely.
The “Stop the Steal” demonstration was originally intended to be a protest against Trump’s reelection loss. He has repeatedly claimed without evidence that the election was “stolen” and “rigged.”
Outside a small number of isolated incidents, which were handled accordingly in their jurisdiction, no voter fraud occurred. Attorney General Bill Barr, the U.S. Supreme Court, state legislatures, governors and other elected officials everywhere have confirmed there are no instances of fraud nearly large enough to place the results of any state in jeopardy.
Due to the violence, Congress’ official counting of each state’s electoral votes, in the presence of former Vice President Mike Pence, was delayed by several hours. Several Republican senators, most notably Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz, objected to the certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in Arizona. Other states with narrow, heavily scrutinized results included Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
Trump himself attempted to “overturn” the results of Georgia and Michigan, two states with 16 electoral votes apiece which had backed him in 2016 but flipped blue last November.
More notably, however, a scandal was uncovered Jan. 3, in which Trump asked Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” votes. In an hourlong phone call, the president repeatedly claimed, “I won this election by hundreds of thousands of votes. There’s no way I lost Georgia.”
Other false claims included that Republican votes were shredded in the Atlanta area, that Democratic votes were fraudulently cast, that Alabama and South Carolina residents went to Georgia on election day to illegally cast ballots, and that “a tremendous amount of dead people voted,” per a New York Times transcript.
In the weeks leading up to the attack on the Capitol, Trump told lie after lie about how the election had been wrongfully stolen from him, which in turn riled up his supporters to a dangerous degree.
He then unsuccessfully and wrongfully urged Pence to “rectify,” in their own favor, the electoral votes of the several battleground states Biden carried. The vice president does not hold this power but for Trump to make this demand in the first place is telling.
The impeachment vote passed the House floor 232 to 197. Ten Republicans and all Democrats voted in favor, while four Republicans abstained.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has stated the earliest the Senate could vote on the impeachment charge is Jan. 19, the day before Trump left office. The likelihood that enough votes will be secured to remove Trump from office is slim.
Constitutional scholars agree a president who has left office can still be convicted in impeachment. Should this happen, another vote would transpire on whether to ban Trump from holding public office again.
Several administration officials have discussed whether to invoke the 25th Amendment to force Trump out of office before his term officially ended. However, Pence argued this would hurt Biden’s transition into the presidency.
Only three presidents in history have been impeached, and with Trump a repeat offender, he can claim half of all impeachments that have ever occurred.