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CONCORD, NH — Representatives to Congress from New Hampshire voted to impeach President Donald Trump on high crimes and misdemeanors and inciting violence against the government on Wednesday after the rioting at the U.S. Capitol last week.
The House vote was 232-197 in favor of impeachment — making Trump the only president in American history to be impeached twice. Ten Republicans voted with Democrats and a handful of representatives chose not to vote.
The historic House action took place a week after a mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol in a siege that resulted in five deaths, multiple arrests and a sprawling FBI investigation, and a week before President-elect Joe Biden is to be inaugurated in a capital city on high alert amid ongoing threats of violence.
The FBI has warned of armed protests in the days ahead of Biden’s inauguration in state capitols and statehouses in all 50 states. The New Hampshire Department of Safety issued an alert Tuesday saying it was prepared for any issues that may arise in the state.
Here’s how New Hampshire's delegation voted:
First District U.S. Rep. Chris Pappas (D-NH): Yes
Second District U.S. Rep. Ann McLane Kuster (D-NH): Yes, in absentia.
Absentia votes were accepted after a new resolution, approved Jan. 4, allowing House members to vote while not being in attendance, due to the coronavirus pandemic. Kuster voted by proxy due to a possible COVID-19 exposure.
Kuster said she voted for impeachment even though the president's term was limited — because he was capable of greater danger still.
"For months, this president and his allies lied to the American people — claiming that the election was stolen, vilifying elected officials who upheld their oath to defend the Constitution, and stoking violence across our nation," she said. "President Trump incited an insurrection against the United States of America in a violent, failed attempt to overturn the results of a free and fair election. He sought to undermine the will of the people and interfere with the constitutional process, violating not only our American values but also the law. Every day he remains in office, our democracy, and our citizens are at risk."
"This is not about politics," he said. "This is about stabilizing our country, ensuring accountability, and showing the world who we really are. America belongs to all of us, and if we are going to get back to the business of the people by delivering additional COVID-19 relief, rebuilding our economy, and bolstering our vaccine distribution efforts, we must act decisively and without regard for politics to hold this dangerous President accountable and defend the pillars of our democracy."
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During more than three hours of debate, representatives from both major political parties condemned political violence of all kinds — but they also had different views of what happening in America during the past year and four years.
Democrats described what it felt like to be trapped as dozens of protesters banged on doors and smashed windows in an insurrection that led to the deaths of both protesters and a Capitol police officer. Many of them also said citizens around the nation and planet were watching what would happen in the world's greatest democracy.
Republicans congratulated Democrats for finally speaking out against political violence — after months of rioting, mayhem, and deaths, too across the country including at federal courthouses, local police stations, and both small and large businesses. They called the testimony against Trump inaccurate and said he should not be blamed for the actions of rioters.
The New York Times reported on Tuesday that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was reportedly considering allowing the Senate to vote to convict Trump — an extraordinary turn by the Kentucky Republican who has butted heads with Trump during the four years of his tumultuous presidency. The Senator reportedly suggested the move would help the party be rid of Trump and "Trumpism" — but declined to confirm the comments on the record. Many other news outlets aggregated the Times story even though they were based on anonymous sources.
Two-thirds of the Senate chamber would have to vote to convict Trump. Under the Constitution, the Senate could prevent him from holding federal office again and strip him of other benefits afforded to former presidents — which is why some suggest the impeachment is more about the 2024 presidential campaign although it may not necessarily ban Trump from running.
McConnell previously informed Senators that since they were on break and it would take a vote of all 100 Senators to return before the inauguration to vote on the House impeachment resolution. By that time, Trump will be out of office. Other news orgs are reporting the majority and minority leaders could agree to come back into session to take up the House impeachment resolution.
Read More On Patch: The Latest On Impeachment As More Violence, Assassinations Threatened
Several House Republicans, including U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the third-ranking member of the House Republican leadership, is among Republicans who planned to break from their party and vote to impeach Trump.
"There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution," she said in a statement Tuesday.
Other Republicans, however, many times raised the issue of Democrats in the House, between 2016 and before the November 2020 election, threatening the president and other Republicans as well as challenges to the election results from 2016 — including a Tweet from May 2017 by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The impeachment vote came after Vice President Mike Pence declined to convene the Cabinet to invoke their power under the 25th Amendment and declare Trump unfit to complete his term. Pence said in a letter to Pelosi that doing so was not in the best interest of the nation.
"After the horrific events of this last week, our Administration's energy is directed to ensuring an orderly transition," Pence wrote. "The Bible says that 'for everything, there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven ... a time to heal, ... and a time to build up.' That time is now. In the midst of a global pandemic, economic hardship for millions of Americans, and the tragic events of January 6th, now is the time for us to come together, now is the time to heal. I urge you and every member of Congress to avoid actions that would further divide and inflame the passions of the moment."
Both Kuster and Pappas also voted for the resolution calling on Pence to remove the president via the 25th Amendment. Only one Republican voted for the resolution.
During the debate, Trump issued a statement which was partially read by the Republican leader, U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH): "In light of reports of more demonstrations, I urge that there must be NO violence, NO lawbreaking and NO vandalism of any kind. That is not what I stand for, and it is not what America stands for. I call on ALL Americans to help ease tensions and calm tempers. Thank You."
New Hampshire Patch will update this story with more information.
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