impeachment

For the second time in his presidency, the House is moving to impeach Donald Trump, who will become the first president in history to undergo such a rebuke.

Throughout Wednesday's debate, Democrats portrayed Trump as an ongoing threat to the country and democracy, while Republicans largely either defended the president or argued that the impeachment process would only cause further division.

Update at 5 p.m. ET: Special coverage of this event has ended. Follow more updates on NPR.org.

The House of Representatives passed an article of impeachment against President Trump on Wednesday, making him the first president in U.S. history to be impeached twice.

The violent attack on the U.S. Capitol is "the darkest day" of his career in Congress, Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., said in his opening statement Wednesday as the House prepared to take up a resolution to impeach President Trump.

But pursuing impeachment, Cole said, would only further divide the country. And he noted that the effort comes one week before Trump is set to leave office.

In an hourlong Instagram Live video Tuesday night, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., described her personal experience last week when a violent mob of pro-Trump extremists breached the Capitol and forced lawmakers into hiding.

"I had a pretty traumatizing event happen to me," she described. "And I do not know if I can even disclose the full details of that event, due to security concerns. But I can tell you that I had a very close encounter where I thought I was going to die."

As the House debated impeaching President Trump, security was heightened Wednesday all around the Capitol, with barricades set several blocks from the Capitol building and law enforcement and national guard officials checking badges for anyone to enter the perimeter even by foot.

"We are debating this historic measure at an actual crime scene," Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., said Wednesday morning, discussing House Resolution 24, the measure that would impeach President Trump for the second time. He was speaking in the same chamber that was evacuated one week ago as a mob of pro-Trump extremists breached security and flooded into the halls of Congress.

Up to a dozen House Republicans are likely to join Democrats on Wednesday in voting to impeach President Trump for inciting the attack on the U.S. Capitol one week ago, predicts Rep. Elissa Slotkin, a Democrat from Michigan.

Updated at 2 p.m. ET Wednesday

In a significant move, Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., chair of the House Republican Conference, said she will vote to impeach President Trump, making her the first member of House GOP leadership to announce publicly support of impeachment.

In a statement released Tuesday evening, Cheney described the violent mob that breached the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, causing destruction and death.

Former FBI Director James Comey's new memoir has the misfortune of rendering a verdict on the Trump presidency before what could be its most defining day.

Comey's book was already finished before the violent mob incited by the president stormed the Capitol last week, leading to five deaths.

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