WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump was impeached by the U.S. House for a historic second time Wednesday, charged with "incitement of insurrection" over last week's deadly mob siege of the Capitol in an unprecedented collapse of his final days in office.
With the Capitol secured by armed National Guard troops inside and out, the House voted 232-197 to impeach Trump. The proceedings moved quickly, with lawmakers voting just one week after a mob stormed the U.S. Capitol, egged on by the president's calls for them to "fight like hell" against the election results.
Ten Republicans fled Trump, joining Democrats who said he needed to be held accountable and warned of a "clear and present danger" if Congress should leave him unchecked before Democrat Joe Biden's inauguration Jan. 20.
All four members of Arkansas' delegation voted against impeachment.
Trump is the only U.S. president to be twice impeached. It was the most bipartisan presidential impeachment in modern times, more so than against Bill Clinton in 1998.
The Capitol insurrection stunned and angered lawmakers, who were sent scrambling for safety as the mob descended, and it revealed the fragility of the nation's history of peaceful transfers of power. The riot also forced a reckoning among some Republicans, who have stood by Trump throughout his presidency and largely allowed him to attack the integrity of the 2020 election.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi invoked Abraham Lincoln and the Bible, imploring lawmakers to uphold their oath to defend the Constitution from all enemies, foreign "and domestic."
She said of Trump: "He must go, he is a clear and present danger to the nation that we all love."
Trump later released a video statement in which he made no mention at all of the impeachment but appealed to his supporters to refrain from any further violence or disruption of Biden's inauguration.
"Like all of you, I was shocked and deeply saddened by the calamity at the Capitol last week," he said. He appealed for unity "to move forward" and said, "Mob violence goes against everything I believe in and everything our movement stands for. ... No true supporter of mine could ever disrespect law enforcement."
Trump was first impeached by the House in 2019 over his dealings with Ukraine, but the Senate voted in 2020 acquit.
The soonest Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell would start an impeachment trial is Tuesday, the day before Trump is already set to leave the White House, McConnell's office said. The legislation is also intended to prevent Trump from ever running again.
McConnell believes Trump committed impeachable offenses and considers the Democrats' impeachment drive an opportunity to reduce the president's hold on the GOP, a Republican strategist said Wednesday.
McConnell told major donors over the weekend that he was through with Trump, said the strategist, who asked for anonymity to describe McConnell's conversations.
In a note to colleagues Wednesday, McConnell said he had "not made a final decision on how I will vote."
Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., argued on the House floor that while Trump bears responsibility for the attack on the Capitol, the "snap impeachment," which came together in a matter of days following the riot, would only "further fan the flames of partisan division."
McCarthy publicly endorsed censuring Trump for the first time, but the call was too late to serve as an effective alternative to impeachment.
Pelosi and other Democrats made clear Wednesday that censure would not suffice.
In making a case for the "high crimes and misdemeanors" demanded in the Constitution, the four-page impeachment resolution approved Wednesday relies on Trump's own rhetoric and the claims he spread about Biden's election victory, including at a rally near the White House on the day of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
A Capitol Police officer died from injuries suffered in the riot, and police shot and killed a woman during the siege. Three other people died in what authorities said were medical emergencies. The riot delayed the tally of Electoral College votes that was the last step in finalizing Biden's victory.
Ten Republicans joined Democrats in voting to impeach: Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the party's No. 3 leader in the House; Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington; John Katko of New York: Adam Kinzinger of Illinois; Fred Upton of Michigan; Dan Newhouse of Washington: Peter Meijer of Michigan; Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio; David Valadao of California and Tom Rice of South Carolina.
Cheney, whose father is former Republican Vice President Dick Cheney, said of Trump's actions summoning the mob that "there has never been a greater betrayal by a President" of his office.
From the White House, Trump leaned on Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina to push Republican senators to resist, while chief of staff Mark Meadows called some of his former colleagues on Capitol Hill.
Graham came out strongly against impeachment.
"It is a rushed process that, over time, will become a threat to future presidents. As to Senate leadership, I fear they are making the problem worse, not better," he said, not specifying which party's leaders he was critiquing. "The last thing the country needs is an impeachment trial of a president who is leaving office in one week."
Security was exceptionally tight at the Capitol, with tall fences around the complex. Metal-detector screenings were required for lawmakers entering the House chamber, where a week earlier lawmakers huddled inside as police, guns drawn, barricade the door from rioters.
"We are debating this historic measure at a crime scene," said Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass.
During the debate, some Republicans repeated the claims spread by Trump about the election and argued that the president has been treated unfairly by Democrats from the day he took office.
Other Republicans argued the impeachment was a rushed sham and complained about a double standard applied to his supporters but not to the liberal left. Some simply appealed for the nation to move on.
Rep. Tom McClintock of California said, "Every movement has a lunatic fringe."
Yet Democratic Rep. Jason Crow, D-Colo., and others recounted the harrowing day as rioters pounded on the chamber door trying to break in. Some called it a "coup" attempt.
Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., contended that Trump was "capable of starting a civil war."
Conviction and removal of Trump would require a two-thirds vote in the Senate, which will be evenly divided. Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania joined Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska over the weekend in calling for Trump to "go away as soon as possible."
Biden is encouraging senators to divide their time between taking up his priorities of confirming his nominees and approving covid-19 relief while also conducting the trial.
The impeachment bill draws from Trump's own statements about his election defeat to Biden. Judges across the country, including some nominated by Trump, have repeatedly dismissed cases challenging the election results, and former Attorney General William Barr has said there was no sign of widespread fraud.
The House had first tried to persuade Vice President Mike Pence and the Cabinet to invoke their authority under the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office. Pence declined to do so, but the House passed the resolution anyway.
The impeachment bill also details Trump's pressure on state officials in Georgia to "find" him more votes.
Information for this article was contributed by Lisa Mascaro, Mary Clare Jalonick, Jonathan Lemire, Alan Fram, Kevin Freking, Andrew Taylor and Zeke Miller of The Associated Press; by Mike DeBonis and Seung Min Kim of The Washington Post; and by Nicholas Fandos of The New York Times.