- The US House of Representatives is debating rules on an expected impeachment vote against President Donald Trump, accusing him of “incitement of insurrection” for his behaviour and remarks leading up to last Wednesday’s siege of the US Capitol.
- Members are expected to vote on the article around 15:00 EST (20:00 GMT) and all eyes are on how many Republicans will join Democrats in voting to impeach.
- Several Republicans, including the third-highest ranking House Republican, Wyoming Representative Liz Cheney – the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney – have indicated they support impeachment.
- The move comes after Vice President Mike Pence said he would not invoke the 25th Amendment and declare Trump unable to perform duties.
Welcome to Al Jazeera’s coverage of US politics. This is Joseph Stepansky.
Airbnb to cancel DC bookings during Inauguration week
Home-sharing giant Airbnb and HotelTonight, which it bought in 2019, are blocking and cancelling all hotel reservations in the Washington DC Metro area during the week of President-elect Biden’s inauguration, it said on Wednesday.
“This decision was informed by inputs from our host community as well as local, state and federal officials,” Airbnb said in a brief statement.
Airbnb said it had banned from its platform some individuals who were found to have ties with hate groups or were involved in last week’s deadly storming of the US Capitol.
“We are aware of reports emerging yesterday afternoon regarding armed militias and known hate groups that are attempting to travel and disrupt the Inauguration,” Airbnb said.
The company did not immediately specify if its decision to block reservations was a result of a request from law enforcement agencies.
House voting on rule preceding debate on article of impeachment
The House is currently voting on a procedural motion that, if passed, will open the chamber to debate on the article of impeachment against Trump.
If the rule vote passes, the House will debate the article of impeachment for two hours before a final vote.
Republican Representative argues impeachment ‘ignores due process’
Republican Representative Guy Reschenthaler argued on the House floor that impeaching Trump “ignores all precedent and ignores all due process”.
Reschenthaler added: “Trump’s words would not even meet the definition of incitement under criminal statutes.”
Omar: ‘We cannot simply move past this or turn the page’
Speaking during a debate on rules preceding a debate on the article of impeachment introduced against Trump, Representative Ilhan Omar said of the Capitol Hill riot: “We cannot simply move past this or turn the page.”
“For us to be able to survive as a functioning democracy, there has to be accountability,” she said.
Hoyer tells reporters as many as 20 Republicans could vote to impeach
House Majority leader Steny Hoyer told reporters on Wednesday he expected between 10 and 20 House Republicans to vote in support of impeaching Trump.
So far, five House Republicans, including ranking member Liz Cheney, have said they intend to join Democrats.
Steny also said he expects the article of impeachment would be sent to the Senate as soon as its passed.
Spirited impeachment debate underway
Supporters of Trump’s impeachment along with his defenders are taking to the floor of the US House as debate gets underway.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer argued, “There has never been a greater betrayal by a president of the United States of his office and his oath of Constitution – to the Constitution.”
“There is no doubt in my mind that the president of the United States broke his oath and incited this insurrection,” he added.
Ohio Representative Jim Jordan, a steadfast supporter of Trump, argued that Democrats’ accusations are unfair and moving to impeach Trump is “frightening for the country.”
“Democrats can raise bail for rioters and looters this summer, but somehow when Republicans condemn all the violence, the violence this summer, the violence last week, somehow we’re wrong,” Jordan said, citing the Black Lives Matters protests and looting that took place in some cities in the wake of those protests.
“I do not know where all this goes, and this is frightening for the country. We should defeat this rule and defeat the impeachment resolution when it comes up,” Jordan added.
House presiding officer: “All members are reminded to wear face coverings while on the floor.”
Apparently, via @MEPFuller, this was directed at Rep. Jim Jordan.
Reminder: C-SPAN does not control cameras in the House chamber. pic.twitter.com/rHVUdYusaK
— Jeremy Art (@cspanJeremy) January 13, 2021
Some Republican legislators argue impeachment will further divide
While several House Republicans have indicated they support impeaching Trump, others have argued that doing so would further divide the country during the already fraught period.
“I can think of no action the House can take that is more likely to further divide the American people than the action we are contemplating today,” Republican Congressman Tom Cole said during debate on rules proceeding an expected debate on the impeachment article itself.
WATCH LIVE: US House of Representatives meet to consider an article of impeachment against President Donald Trump.
Read more: https://t.co/RPDFsLf6w5 https://t.co/prw4PYIejI
— Al Jazeera News (@AJENews) January 13, 2021
Debate on ‘rules’ begins ahead of impeachment vote
Debate proceeding a procedural vote, which will kick off debate on the impeachment article itself.
Legislators were expected to debate for one hour.
Opening the proceedings, Democratic Representative Jim McGovern, the chairman of the House Rules Committee, said: “We wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the president of the United States.”
McGovern recounted as Congress met to certify the election results at “a rally a mile and-a-half down Pennsylvania Avenue, Donald Trump was stoking the anger of a violent mob.”
“He said Vice President Pence has to come through and told the mob to walk down to the Capitol,” he said.
“We can’t have unity without truth and without accountability,” he said.
John Kelly says Trump suffering from a ‘manhood’ issue
Trump’s former chief of staff John Kelly has said the president cannot admit to making a mistake because “his manhood is at issue here”.
“I don’t understand it, although I had to deal with it every day,” said Kelly, a retired four-star Marine general, during an event in Des Moines on Tuesday, the Des Moines Register reported.
Trump made his first public appearance on Tuesday, but refused to take responsibility for allegedly egging on rioters before Capitol violence.
“People thought that what I said was totally appropriate,” Trump said.
Congresswoman accuses colleagues of giving ‘reconnaissance’ tours before Capitol breach
Representative Mikie Sherrill has said she saw members of Congress leading “groups” through the Capitol on January 5, a day before rioters breached the complex, calling it “reconnaissance for the next day”, New Jersey newspaper the Bergen Record reported.
Sherill made the statement during a Tuesday night Facebook live event, adding, “I’m going to see they are held accountable, and if necessary, ensure that they don’t serve in Congress.”
Sherill did not specify if the groups in question were Trump supporters who had come to the Capitol as Congress met to certify the vote.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: ‘I thought was going to die’
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a progressive Democrat, has recounted when rioters breached the US Capitol last week, saying “I thought I was going to die.”
Cortez, in a video posted on her Instagram, said: “I did not know if I was going to make it to the end of that day alive … “Not just in a general sense, but in a very, very specific sense.”
Cortez said she could not further explain her statement, citing “security concerns”, but said firmly “I thought I was going to die”.
US House opens Trump impeachment session
The Democrat-controlled US House of Representatives on Wednesday opened debate on an historic second impeachment of President Donald Trump over his supporters’ attack of the Capitol that left five dead.
Lawmakers in the lower chamber are expected to vote for impeachment around 3pm (20:00 GMT) – marking the formal opening of proceedings against Trump.
The president is expected to be impeached with bipartisan support.