The US House of Representatives is likely to impeach President Donald Trump on Wednesday for inciting a crowd to attack the US Capitol with his false claims of election fraud.
Here is a chronology of some of the events of the past week leading up to the historic vote in the Democratic-controlled House:
As Congress met on January 6 to certify Democrat Joe Biden’s victory in the November 3 presidential election, Trump held a “Save America” rally near the White House.
Addressing the crowd, the Republican president repeated his baseless claims that the election was “stolen” and urged his supporters to march on the Capitol.
Trump said once they should “peacefully and patriotically” march on Congress, but the bulk of his speech was peppered with incendiary remarks that whipped up the crowd.
“You have to show strength and you have to be strong,” Trump said. “Fight for Trump,” the crowd chanted.
During his speech, Trump urged Vice President Mike Pence, who presides over the Senate, to show “courage” and block the certification of the Electoral College votes by Congress.
But Pence, in a statement released as Trump was speaking, refused, saying his role under the Constitution was merely ceremonial and did not allow him to do that.
As the House of Representatives and Senate met to certify the election results, thousands of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol, breaking windows, smashing doors and overwhelming a woefully outnumbered Capitol Police force.
Lawmakers were rushed to safety as the mob milled around the halls of Congress chanting “Hang Mike Pence” and “Where’s Nancy,” a reference to the Democratic Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi.
Five people died, including a woman – a pro-Trump supporter from California – who was shot by a security officer, and a Capitol policeman who was reportedly beaten to death by the mob.
Lawmakers and aides urged Trump to call off his supporters, which he finally did in a tweet and a brief video in which he referred to them as “very special.”
In the video, Trump finally acknowledged Biden’s victory and promised an orderly transition but did not congratulate him.
After an interruption lasting about six hours, Congress reconvened and completed the certification of the election results around 4:00 am January 7.
Several Republican senators who had planned to object to the results from certain states won by Biden dropped their objections following the violence, but others pursued theirs.
Twitter ban, resignations
Twitter permanently banned Trump amid concerns he could incite further violence, and Facebook banned him “indefinitely.” YouTube banned him for at least a week.
Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos resigned from the cabinet in protest along with a number of lower-ranking administration officials.
The head of the Capitol Police also resigned.
Pelosi released a letter on Friday calling on Trump to resign and said that if he refused, Pence and the cabinet should remove the “unhinged” president from office by invoking the 25th Amendment.
Pelosi said that if Pence refused to invoke the 25th Amendment, the House would move to impeach Trump for a second time.
25th Amendment, impeachment
A resolution calling on Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment was introduced in the House on Monday, but Republicans objected. Democrats followed it up with an article of impeachment against Trump for inciting insurrection.
Late Tuesday the House voted almost entirely along party line on the 25th Amendment resolution — but even before the vote, Pence wrote to Pelosi saying that he did “not believe that such a course of action is in the best interest of our nation.”
The House will now vote to impeach Trump on Wednesday, a measure which could draw some Republican support.
Liz Cheney, the third highest-ranking Republican in the House, said she would vote to impeach Trump.
Trump’s impeachment by the House would pave the way for a trial in the Republican-majority Senate, but it is unclear when or if that would happen because the Senate is not scheduled to return until January 19, one day before Biden is sworn in as the 46th president of the United States.