Efforts to impeach President Trump gathers momentum

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The US House of Representatives is expected to hold a vote to impeach President Donald Trump over his role in last week’s storming of Congress.

Democrats accuse the president of encouraging his supporters to attack the Capitol building. Five people died.

Members of Mr Trump’s Republican party say they will join Democrats to impeach him on Wednesday, formally charging the president with inciting insurrection.

President Trump has rejected any responsibility for the violence.

The riot last Wednesday happened after Mr Trump told supporters at a rally in Washington DC to “fight like hell” against the result of November’s election.

As Democrats hold a majority in the House, the vote is likely to pass. The case will then head for the Senate, where a trial will be held to determine the president’s guilt.

A two-thirds majority would be needed there to convict Mr Trump, meaning at least 17 Republicans would have to vote for conviction. As many as 20 Senate Republicans are open to convicting the president, the New York Times reports.

The timeline of when a trial could be held is not known but it is unlikely it could be finished before Mr Trump leaves office on 20 January, when Joe Biden will be sworn in as president.

The Senate could also use an impeachment trial to block Mr Trump from ever running for office again. He has indicated he plans to campaign for president in 2024.

Wednesday’s vote means that Mr Trump is likely to become the first US president ever to be impeached twice.

In December 2019 he became the third president to be impeached over charges of breaking the law by asking Ukraine to investigate Mr Biden to boost his own chances of re-election. The Senate cleared him.The third most senior Republican in the House, Liz Cheney, vowed to back impeachment, saying Mr Trump had “summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack”, referring to last week’s riot.

“There has never been a greater betrayal by a president of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution,” said the Wyoming representative, daughter of former Vice-President Dick Cheney.

At least four other Republican House members said they would also vote for impeachment.