One week before Trump is to leave office, a total of 232 lawmakers, including 10 Republicans who broke with the president, voted to impeach the US leader.

A chain blocks the sidewalk entrance to the front steps of the Maine State House, Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021, in Augusta, Maine. State capitols across the nation are stepping up security amid heightened safety concerns following last week's violence at the US Capitol.
A chain blocks the sidewalk entrance to the front steps of the Maine State House, Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021, in Augusta, Maine. State capitols across the nation are stepping up security amid heightened safety concerns following last week's violence at the US Capitol. (AP)

Donald Trump on Wednesday became the first US president to be impeached for a second time, when a bipartisan majority in the House of Representatives voted to charge him with inciting last week's attack on the US Capitol.

One week before Trump is to leave office, a total of 232 lawmakers, including 10 Republicans who broke with the president, voted to impeach the defiant Republican leader for high crimes and misdemeanors on a single charge of "incitement of insurrection."

Impeachment triggers a trial in the US Senate, but the chamber is not expected to take up the matter until after Joe Biden is inaugurated as the 46th president on January 20.

Voting

The US House of Representatives began its momentous vote on charges of "incitement of insurrection."

After hours of intense debate, a bipartisan majority of members is expected to impeach the president, who urged supporters last week to march on the US Capitol and "fight like hell," actions that Democrats say incited a mob to stage a violent and deadly uprising.

Shortly before the vote began, number two House Democrat Steny Hoyer urged lawmakers to "reject sedition, tyranny and insurrection" and vote to impeach Trump "for America, for our constitution, for democracy, for history. 

Security

Security was exceptionally tight, while shocking images of National Guard troops massed at the iconic Capitol, with secure perimetres around the complex and metal-detector screenings required for lawmakers entering the House chamber.

In the Capitol building, guards in full camouflage and carrying assault rifles assembled, some of them grabbing naps early Wednesday under the ornate statues and historical paintings.

The US House of Representatives voted 221 to 203 to advance legislation to impeach President Trump.

But Senate's top Republican rejected Democratic calls to reconvene the Senate for an immediate trial, all but ensuring Trump will not be ousted before his term ends next week.

A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell confirmed on Twitter a Washington Post report that McConnell had informed the Senate's top Democrat, Chuck Schumer, he is not willing to bring the chamber into an emergency session to consider removing Trump from office following House impeachment.

READ MORE: Trump takes no responsibility for Capitol rampage

Trump 'must go'

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Trump must be held accountable for inciting last week's violent attack on Congress.

"He must go. He is a clear and present danger to the nation that we all love," she said as the chamber began debating the impeachment of the Republican president after the January 6 riot left five people dead.

After spending four years defending President Trump's behaviour, a growing number of Republican lawmakers have said they will vote to impeach him on charges that he incited his supporters to carry out the deadly January 6 attack on Congress.

Senate trial

The usual process is for the Senate to hold a trial for a president who has been impeached by the House.

That's what happened last year after Trump was impeached by the Democratic-controlled House for pressuring the leader of Ukraine to dig up political dirt on Biden.

Trump was acquitted by the Republican-majority Senate.

This time, however, Trump has only a week left in the White House and Biden is to be sworn in as the 46th president of the United States on January 20.

That time crunch has sparked debate and speculation about whether the Senate can hold a trial before Trump leaves office.

READ MORE: How Donald Trump shot himself in the foot

Below are some of the Republicans who said they will vote for impeachment:

Liz Cheney

The No 3 House Republican, Cheney was the most senior member of her party to vote against efforts to challenge the Jan 6 electoral college results confirming Trump's loss.

The daughter of former Republican Vice President Dick Cheney is a rising star in the party.

Adam Kinzinger

A frequent Trump critic, Kinzinger said Trump broke his oath of office by inciting his supporters to insurrection and used his position to attack the legislative branch of government.

John Katko

Katko was the first member of the House Republican caucus to say he would vote for impeachment.

Fred Upton

Upton in November said Trump had shown no proof of his claims that his election defeat was the result of widespread fraud.

Jaime Herrera Beutler

Herrera Beutler is a moderate from the state of Washington. "The president's offenses, in my reading of the Constitution, were impeachable based on the indisputable evidence we already have," she said in a statement.

READ MORE: Democrats seek second Trump impeachment amid Republican doubts

Source: TRTWorld and agencies