Donald Trump becomes the first US president to be impeached for a second time – live

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1. There are signs of a deep split within the Republican party

Some of the most high-profile members of Republican leadership aren’t denouncing the Democratic effort. Quite the contrary. Congresswoman Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the chairwoman of the House Republican Conference, announced on Tuesday that she would join Democrats and a handful of House Republicans in voting to impeach Trump.

2. The most bipartisan impeachment in American history

Unlike the last time Democrats impeached Trump, there’s a higher level of bipartisan support for the move. Congressman Kevin McCarthy, the House minority leader and top-ranking Republican in that chamber, said during a speech on Wednesday that Trump was partially to blame for the mob assault on the Capitol last week.

3. The vast majority of Republicans refused to concede any fault

Throughout the debate on Wednesday two patterns emerged among the arguments Republicans made: deflect and denounce. Republicans repeatedly denounced the mob attack last week.

4. The Senate is a mystery

How things will shake out in the Senate is a mystery. McConnell wrote in a letter to colleagues that he has not “made a final decision on how I will vote and I intend to listen to legal arguments when they are presented to the Senate”.

5. Democrats’ security concerns seem well-founded

Reporters and lawmakers noted the increased security presence around the Capitol. Congressman Seth Moulton of Massachusetts noted in his floor speech that there were more US soldiers patrolling the Capitol than were stationed in Afghanistan.

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A guillotine outside the state capitol in Arizona. A Democratic governor burned in effigy in Oregon. Lawmakers evacuated as pro-Trump crowds gathered at state capitols in Georgia and New Mexico. Cheers in Idaho as a crowd was told fellow citizens were “taking the Capitol” and “taking out” Mike Pence, the vice-president.

As a mob of thousands invaded the US Capitol on 6 January, Trump supporters threatened lawmakers and fellow citizens in cities across the country. Compared with the violent mob in Washington, the pro-Trump crowds elsewhere in the country were much smaller, attracting dozens to hundreds of people. But they used the same extreme rhetoric, labeling both Democratic politicians and Republicans perceived as disloyal to Trump as “traitors”.

As the FBI warns of plans for new armed protests in Washington and all 50 state capitols in the days leading up to Biden’s inauguration, and fresh calls for extreme violence circulate on social media forums, the intensity of the nationwide pro-Trump demonstrations and attacks last week offer evidence of what might be coming next.

Some of the pro-Trump demonstrations on Wednesday did not turn violent. The dozens of Trump supporters who entered the Kansas state capitol remained peaceful, according to multiple news reports. In Carson City, Nevada, hundreds of Trump supporters drank beer and listened to rock music while denouncing the election results, the Reno Gazette Journal reported.

But in Los Angeles, white Trump supporters assaulted and ripped the wig off the head of a young black woman who happened to pass their 6 January protest, the Los Angeles Times reported. A white woman was captured on video holding the wig and shouting, “Fuck BLM!” and, “I did the first scalping of the new civil war.”

In Ohio and Oregon, fights broke out between counter-protesters and members of the Proud Boys, the neo-fascist group Trump directed in September to “stand back and stand by”. Proud Boys also reportedly demonstrated in Utah, California, Florida and South Carolina.

And in Washington state, Trump supporters, some armed, pushed through the gate of the governor’s mansion and stormed on to the lawn of Democrat Jay Inslee’s house. In Georgia, where lawmakers were evacuated from the state capitol, members of the III% Security Force militia, a group known for its anti-Muslim activism, had gathered outside.

Militia members, neo-Nazis, and other rightwing extremists have discussed multiple potential dates for armed protests in the coming days, researchers who monitor extremist groups say, with proposals ranging from rallies or attacks on state capitols to a “million militia march” in Washington.

The FBI’s intelligence bulletin has warned of potential armed protests from 16 January “at least” through inauguration day on 20 January, but researchers say that energy had not yet coalesced around a single event. Public social media forums where Trump supporters have gathered to discuss plans are full of dramatic, contradictory rumors, but experts say that more concrete plans are likely being made in private and in smaller forums that are more difficult to infiltrate.

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Analysis: Second impeachment puts Trump in first place among lords of misrule

It was always going to end this way. A presidency centered on fear, rage and division is climaxing in a Grand Guignol of three acts at the US Capitol in Washington: last Wednesday’s insurrection, this Wednesday’s impeachment, next Wednesday’s inauguration.

As Barack Obama noted after act one, “we’d be kidding ourselves if we treated it as a total surprise”.

What remains uncertain is whether this is the moment that the fever breaks and the nation gets back on track or merely a harbinger of further polarisation, violence and decline.

Liz Cheney and nine other Republicans who joined Democrats in a 232-197 bipartisan vote to impeach Trump did not provide a comprehensive answer to that question. Yes, it was 10 more than the first impeachment just over a year ago and, yes, there are cracks in the dam. But it has not yet burst.

And certainly on this Wednesday, with its besieged capital being prised from the grasp of a would-be autocrat, America resembled the sort of fragile state that it used to think it was in the business of rescuing and rebuilding.

Barriers, checkpoints and a ring of steel had been erected on Capitol Hill. Members of the national guard, with masks, guns and military garb, could be seen sleeping on hard floors in the hallways of the Capitol. The last time troops were quartered here was during the American civil war; there were more of them than in Afghanistan or Iraq today.

Inside the chamber, where members wore masks under strict new coronavirus rules, the historic day began with a prayer from R Adm Margaret Grun Kibben, the House chaplain. She noted that last week “we found ourselves seizing the scales of justice from the jaws of mobocracy”.

But it did not take long for partisanship to bare its teeth. Although this process has been much speedier than Impeachment One, which sanctioned Trump for pressuring Ukraine for political favours, there were again angry speeches from both sides.

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Trump’s second impeachment has led to some strong responses from political commentators, including former US labor secretary and Guardian US columnist Robert Reich:

Robert Reich (@RBReich)

In case you weren’t clear about the state of today’s GOP: Only 10 House Republicans voted to impeach a president who incited an attempted overthrow of the U.S. government.

January 13, 2021

❤️ (@umairh)

Especially white Americans don’t like to hear it, but we got to the “coup” stage of fascism because we didn’t impeach at the concentration camps, cages, family separations, beatings, gassing, disappearances. Fascism’s a pattern of escalation and nobody tried to really break it

January 13, 2021

Susan Glasser (@sbg1)

The bottom line is that after everything, ten House Republicans voted to impeach Trump, two Cabinet officers quit, Twitter banned Trump, Lindsey Graham got off the train and back on again, and Trump is staying in office.

For a week.

January 13, 2021

Parker Molloy (@ParkerMolloy)

We all know that the Republicans are going to try to impeach Biden at some point, right? To do another one of their “sorry, these are the new rules. See how you like it,” things.

January 13, 2021