A week after President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the U. S. Capitol, the US House of Representatives gathered on Wednesday to impeach the president for his role in an assault on American democracy that stunned the nation and left five dead. At least five Republicans have said they would join Democrats to impeach Trump for the second time. A vote of the House majority to impeach would trigger a trial in the still Republican-controlled Senate, although it was unclear whether such a trial would take place in time to expel Trump from the White House. Washington is on high alert after the riot and with a week to go in Trump's term. Thousands of National Guard troops were planned to be on hand and some members in fatigues, with weapons at hand, could be seen sleeping inside the Capitol building on Wednesday ahead of the session. Democrats moved forward on an impeachment vote after Vice President Mike Pence rejected an effort to persuade him to invoke the 25th Amendment of the US Constitution to remove Trump. “I do not believe that such a course of action is in the best interest of our Nation or consistent with our Constitution,” Pence said in a letter Tuesday evening to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Despite the letter, the House passed a resolution formally calling on Pence to act. The final vote was 223-205 in favor. As the House prepared for the impeachment vote, there were signs Trump's once-dominant hold on the Republican Party was beginning to ebb. At least five House Republicans, including Liz Cheney, a member of her party’s leadership team, said they would vote for his second impeachment — a prospect no president before Trump has faced. Military leaders join hands to condemn riot The US military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, the uniformed leaders of the military branches, on Tuesday put out a rare message to service members saying the violent riots last week were an assault on America’s constitutional process. The joint message broke nearly a week of silence by the leaders after the assault sent lawmakers into hiding and left five people dead. Walmart, Disney suspend contributions to lawmakers who opposed Biden certification Walmart, the world’s biggest retailer and Walt Disney joined other major companies in indefinitely suspending donations to US lawmakers who voted against President-elect Joe Biden’s election certification.