Key moments from the House debates on Trump's 2nd impeachment

President Donald Trump was impeached for incitement of insurrection.

January 13, 2021, 6:16 PM

Members of the House of Representatives took to the floor Wednesday to debate whether to impeach President Donald Trump for a second time. They ultimately voted to impeach him for incitement of insurrection on the Capitol, making him the first president to ever be impeached twice.

The vote triggers a trial in the Senate, but the Senate does not return to its regular session until Jan. 19, one day before President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Senate would not return early for an impeachment trial and said the process will begin "at our first regular meeting following receipt of the article from the House."

These are some of the most notable quotes from speeches given by House members during the second impeachment debate.

Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md.

"I served with Ronald Reagan, with George H.W. Bush and George Bush. I have respect for all of those presidents. They cared about our country. They honored our constitution and they executed the duties of the office consistent with the constitution and laws of our country. That is not true of this president. And therefore, he ought to be removed. And we have that opportunity to do so. Is there little time left? Yes. But it is never too late to do the right thing."

Newly elected Rep. Cori Bush speaks during the impeachment debate on the House floor, Jan. 13, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol.
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Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo.

"The 117th Congress must understand we have a mandate to legislate in defense of Black lives. The first step in that process is to root out white supremacy, starting with impeaching the white supremacist in chief.

Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y.

"We will bring the rioters to justice. Their accomplices in this House will be held responsible."

"But today we must focus on the gravest threat first: President Trump, who incited this riot and who remains a grave danger to the nation."

Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif.

"But, what did he actually say? His exact words were, quote, 'I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard,' unquote. That's impeachable? That's called freedom of speech."

"If we impeached every politician who gave a fiery speech to a crowd of partisans, this Capitol would be deserted. That's what the president did, that is all he did. He specifically told the crowd to protest peacefully and patriotically."

Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La.

"We said if we didn't remove him he would do it again. Simply put, we told you so. Richmond out."

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y.

"I did not come to Congress to impeach Donald Trump, but the constitutional crime inspired by his hatred and the big lie that he told cannot be ignored."

"Donald Trump is a living, breathing impeachable offense. It is what it is."

Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md.

"Let's impeach the president for high crime against the republic. ... He's a clear and present danger to the people."

Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif.

"America has been attacked before, but not like this. ...This president has inspired future plots. America is still under attack, and that's why Donald Trump must be impeached. I've read many of my GOP colleagues know that the president is wrong but are afraid for their lives if they cross the president. I'm sorry that you're living in fear, but now is a time to summon your courage to guide you. We have all seen the images of the courageous officers who have risked their lives so that you could flee this floor and see your families."

Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas

"What do you think they would have done if they had gotten in? What do you think they would have done to you? And who do you think sent them here? The most dangerous man to ever occupy the Oval Office. If inciting a deadly insurrection is not enough to get a president impeached, then what is?"

Representative Julian Castro (D-Texas) speaks at the U.S. Capitol while Democrats debate one article of impeachment against President Donald Trump in Washington, D.C., Jan. 13, 2021.
ABC News

Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.

"The president bears responsibility for Wednesday's attack on Congress by mob rioters. He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding."

Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Wash.,

"Others, including myself, are responsible for not speaking out sooner, before the president misinformed and inflamed a violent mob who tore down the American flag and brutally beat Capitol police officers. Madam Speaker, we must all do better. These articles of impeachment are flawed, but I will not use process as an excuse. There is no excuse for President Trump's actions."

"The president took an oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Last week, there was a domestic threat at the door of the Capitol, and he did nothing to stop it. That is why with a heavy heart and clear resolve, I will vote yes on these articles of impeachment. "

Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Wash.

"My vote for impeaching the sitting president is not a fear-based decision. I am not choosing a side -- I am choosing truth. It's the only way to defeat fear."

Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.)

"I've seen the dark evil of political violence firsthand, and it needs to stop. But all of us need to be unequivocal in calling it out every single time we see it. Not just when it comes from the other side of the aisle. I oppose this rushed impeachment brought forward without a single hearing."

"And by the way, the Senate will not even take this up until President Trump is out of office. So, let's keep that in mind. It will only serve to further divide a nation that is calling out for healing."

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, right, is applauded on the House floor during the debate on the impeachment charges against President Donald Trump, Jan. 13, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol.
ABC News

This report was featured in the Thursday, Jan. 14, 2020, episode of “Start Here,” ABC News’ daily news podcast.

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