WASHINGTON | US President Donald Trump was indicted Wednesday in Congress, a second historic “impeachment” a week before the end of his term which ends in confusion and in a climate of extreme tension.
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The Democrat-dominated House of Representatives voted in favor of “impeachment” by 232 votes to 197.
The 74-year-old Republican billionaire, who will give way to Joe Biden on January 20, is accused of encouraging his supporters’ assault on Capitol Hill that killed five and shook American democracy.
“He must leave, he is an obvious and immediate danger against the nation that we all love,” said Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic Speaker of the House, solemnly accusing him of having “incited this insurrection, this rebellion. army”.
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 extremely isolated.
Contrary to the act of impeachment in the Ukraine case over a year ago, several Republicans – 10 in all – voted in favor of committing to trial. Among them, Dan Newhouse insisted that there was “no excuse for the actions of President Trump”.
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 raises many questions and opens a new chapter in American history. It won’t open until Jan. 19, or even more likely after Joe Biden’s inauguration, risking hampering legislative action by Democrats early in their presidency, by monopolizing sessions.
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.
“I call on ALL Americans to help ease tensions,” added the one who has been deprived in recent days of most of his favorite communication channels on social networks.
The federal capital, placed under very high security, was unrecognizable.
Military at the Capitol
Striking images: dozens of military reservists spent the night inside Congress, still sleeping on the floor even 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 defended him tooth and nail, like Jim Jordan who denounced “an obsession” of the Democrats. Or Matt Gaetz who pointed out that “millions of people love so much” the incumbent president.
But others have clearly distanced themselves.
“The president bears responsibility in the attack” against Congress “by rioters”, which he “should have denounced immediately”, recognized the leader of the Republican deputies Kevin McCarthy, asking for a “commission of inquiry” and the vote of a “motion of censure”.
However, he felt that an indictment so close to the end of his term would be “a mistake”.
Tuesday, Donald Trump had tried to reduce the procedure aimed at yet another “witch hunt”. And had stubbornly refused to admit any responsibility in the assault on the Capitol, judging that his speech had been “quite suitable”.
But in his camp, few elected officials share this analysis.
More worrying for the billionaire and his possible political future, Mitch McConnell, powerful leader of the Republicans in the Senate, indicated that he did not rule out voting for impeachment.
“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 Republican colleagues in a note made public.
This clever, very influential strategist could, if he gives a signal in favor of impeachment, help the Republican Party to turn the Trump page for good.
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 necessary 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, to send 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.
Originally mobilized to provide logistical support to the police, its members began carrying arms late Tuesday.
Proof of the tension that reigns in the American federal capital, the Airbnb site announced the cancellation and blocking of reservations on its platform in Washington during the week of the inauguration of the future American president.