15 Pics That Show How The Level Of Security In The Capitol Has Changed
The Capitol's security was heavily criticized during the riots that left at least five people dead but it was abundantly clear that no one was taking any chances during the House vote.
Security was heightened on Wednesday all around the Capitol, with barricades set several blocks from the building and law enforcement and national guard officials checking badges for anyone to enter the perimeter even by foot.
Inside the building, the contrast was even bigger. Instead of an angry mob, there were National Guard personnel, making a home in the massive Rotunda and near two entrances of the building, including the entrance typically used by the president-elect on inauguration day that just one week ago was targeted by rioters.
OK, so the House of Representatives voted 232-197 to impeach Trump. But what does that mean? An impeachment proceeding is a formal process by which a sitting president of the United States is accused of wrongdoing—it's a political process. Not a criminal process.
The process begins in the House of Representatives. There, any member may make a suggestion to launch an impeachment proceeding. Next, the Speaker of the House, as leader of the majority party, is to determine whether or not to proceed with an inquiry into the alleged wrongdoing.
Over 210 House Democrats introduced the most recent article of impeachment on Jan. 11, 2021, contending Trump "demonstrated that he will remain a threat to national security, democracy, and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office and has acted in a manner grossly incompatible with self-governance and the rule of law."
The impeachment article also cited Trump's call with Georgia's Republican Secretary of State where the president told him to "find" enough votes for Trump to win the state and his efforts to "subvert and obstruct" certification of the vote.
It also cited the Constitution's 14th Amendment, highlighting that it "prohibits any person who has 'engaged in insurrection or rebellion against' the United States" from holding office.
The vote requires a simple majority vote, which is 50% plus one (218), which impeaches the president. Trump now faces a trial on the article in the Senate.
Both the timeline of a potential Senate trial and the likelihood of conviction are still unclear. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said he won't bring back the Senate from recess before Jan. 19, which could push the trial into the beginning of the Biden administration.
The Senate is tasked with handling the impeachment trial, which is presided over by the Chief Justice of the United States. To remove a president from office, two-thirds of the members must vote in favor. While the Senate trial has the power to remove a president from office and ban them from running for future office, it can't send a president to jail.