A week after US President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the US Capitol, the House of Representatives has gathered to impeach the president for his role in an assault on American democracy that stunned the nation and left five dead.

A week after US President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the US Capitol, the House of Representatives has gathered to impeach the president for his role in an assault on American democracy that stunned the nation and left five dead.
At least five Republicans have said they would join Democrats to impeach Mr Trump for the second time, just seven days before he is due to leave office and President-elect Joe Bidenis sworn in on 20 January.
A vote of the House majority to impeach would trigger atrial in the still Republican-controlled Senate, although it was unclear whether such a trial would take place in time to expel Mr Trump from the White House.
Washington is on high alert after the riot and with a week to go in Mr Trump’s term.
Thousands of National Guard troops were planned to be on hand and some members in fatigues, with weapons at hand, could be seen sleeping inside the Capitol building ahead of the session.
The House convened just after 9 am (2pm Irish time) in the same chamber where politicians hid under chairs last Wednesday as angry rioters clashed with police in the halls of the Capitol.
Democrats moved forward on an impeachment vote after Vice President Mike Pence rejected an effort to persuade him to invoke the 25th Amendment of the US Constitution to remove Mr Trump.
“I do not believe that such a course of action is in the best interest of our Nation or consistent with our Constitution,” Mr Pence said in a letter yesterday evening to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Despite the letter, the House passed a resolution late yesterday formally calling on Mr Pence to act. The final vote was 223-205 in favour.
The US @VP@Mike_Pence has written to @SpeakerPelosi saying he won’t invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Donald Trump from office. @rtenewspic.twitter.com/tQR21stRtJ
— Brian O’Donovan (@BrianOD_News) January 13, 2021
As the House prepared for the impeachment vote, there were signs Mr Trump’s once-dominant hold on the Republican Party was beginning to ebb.
At least five House Republicans, including Liz Cheney, a member of her party’s leadership team, said they would vote for his second impeachment – a prospect no president before Mr Trump has faced.
“There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution,” Ms Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, said in a statement.
Mr Trump “summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack” on the Capitol, she said.
Republicans Jaime Herrera Beutler, John Katko, Adam Kinzinger and Fred Upton also said they supported impeachment.
In a break from standard procedure, Republican leaders in the House have refrained from urging their members to vote against impeaching Mr Trump, saying it was a matter of individual conscience.
The New York Times reported that the Republican majority leader of the US Senate, Mitch McConnell, was said to be pleased about the impeachment push, another sign Mr Trump’s party is looking to move on from him after the attack on Congress
Rep Liz Cheney
In his first public appearance since last Wednesday’s riot, Mr Trump showed no contrition yesterday for his speech last week in which he called on his supporters to protest Mr Biden’s victory by marching on the Capitol.
“What I said was totally appropriate,” Mr Trump told reporters.
At a meeting to set the rules for today’s impeachment vote, Democratic Representative David Cicilline, who helped craft the impeachment measure, said the impeachment drive had the support of 217 politicians – enough to impeach Mr Trump.
Representatives pass resolution along party lines urging Pence to remove President from power I Read more: https://t.co/QdNXceC5yupic.twitter.com/NkERiOjtly
— RTÉ News (@rtenews) January 13, 2021
House Republicans who opposed the impeachment drive argued Democrats were going too far, as Mr Trump was on the verge of leaving office.
“This is scary where this goes, because this is about more than about impeaching the president of the United States. This is about cancelling the president and cancelling all the people you guys disagree with,” said Republican Representative Jim Jordan, one of Mr Trump’s staunchest defenders when the president was impeached in 2019 after encouraging the government of Ukraine to dig up political dirt on Mr Biden.
Yesterday Ms Pelosi named nine impeachment managers who would present the House’s case during a Senate trial.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, the No. 2 Democrat, said Democrats intended to send impeachment charges, once approved, to the Senate “as soon as possible.”
It remained unclear how swiftly such a trial would take place. Mr McConnell has said no trial could begin until the chamber returns from its recess on 19 January.
However Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who is set to become the majority leader after two Democrats from Georgia are seated and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris is sworn in later this month, told reporters the Senate could be recalled to handle the matter.
A two-thirds majority of the Senate is needed to convict Mr Trump, meaning at least 17 Republicans in the 100-member chamber would have to vote for conviction.
Democrats could also use an impeachment trial to push through a vote blocking Mr Trump from running for office again.
Only a simple Senate majority is needed to disqualify Mr Trump from future office, but there is disagreement among legal experts as to whether an impeachment conviction is needed before a disqualification vote.
A different part of the Constitution, the 14th Amendment,also provides a procedure for disqualifying Mr Trump from future office with a simple majority of both chambers
YouTube suspends Trump account
Meanwhile, YouTube is suspending Mr Trump’s account for “a minimum of seven days” due to concerns about “the ongoing potential for violence”, the video sharing website has announced.
The company announced the news in a pair of tweets early this morning.
The move comes after fellow social media giants Facebook and Twitter decided to remove the president’s accounts in the wake of last week’s attack on the US Capitol.
“After review, and in light of concerns about the ongoing potential for violence, we removed new content uploaded to Donald J Trump’s channel for violating our policies,” YouTube said in a statement on Twitter.
“It now has its 1st strike & is temporarily prevented from uploading new content for a *minimum* of 7 days.
“Given the ongoing concerns about violence, we will also be indefinitely disabling comments on President Trump’s channel, as we’ve done to other channels where there are safety concerns found in the comments section.”