House moves to impeach Donald Trump as several Republicans turn on him to support conviction

House moves to impeach Donald Trump as several Republicans turn on him to support conviction

DONALD Trump is to be tried for 'High Crimes and Misdemeanour' as his second impeachment trial in just over a year gets underway.

Dramatic scenes took place on Capitol Hill today as nine House Democrats filed into the US Senate to present the charge of impeachment against the former president.

With a two-thirds majority vote needed to get a conviction, the Democrats - who control 50 seats of the 100-seat chamber - are relying on a number of Republican senators to vote against Trump.

It's understood that as many as 10 Republicans have expressed support for impeachment, but at least 17 are needed in order to get a conviction.

In a blow to those such hopes, however, President Joe Biden has warned that this arithmetic makes a conviction unlikely - though says he still believes the impeachment "has to happen" in order to set a precedent.

Reading the resolution to the chamber, Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland said: "Donald John Trump engaged in high crimes and misdemeanours by inciting violence against the government of the United States".

In a procedural departure from the first trial, Senator Pat Leahy - not chief justice John Roberts - will oversee the proceedings.

While chief justices are meant to preside over the impeachment of serving presidents, the constitution does not stipulate about former presidents, meaning that Leahy, the longest-serving democrat senator, can assume the role.

Mr Roberts was also keen to avoid involvement in this trial, as it could stretch his ability to remain impartial and detract from other important judicial commitments.

Offering a foretaste of the legal battle to come, Raskin said in a statement on Monday that impeachment managers will "present overwhelming evidence of the facts" connecting Trump's inflammatory language at a rally - held a mere two miles away from Congress - directly to the violence that erupted on Capitol Hill on January 6.

In his speech, the president told supporters to "fight like hell" against an election he deems illegitimate and to have been unfairly stolen.

The prosecution alleges that Trump's language led to "violent, deadly, destructive and seditious acts" upon the Capitol, and that by refusing to commit to a peaceful transition of power, he both endangered the nation's security and "betrayed his trust as president".