US President Donald Trump was impeached for a second time Tuesday over his role in last week’s violent riot at the Capitol.
Arguing he incited an “armed rebellion” against the US, the Democrat-dominated House voted to impeach Trump again. But with his term expiring in a week, it is unclear when the trial will proceed.
Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives with 232 votes in favour, and 197 against, on the charge of incitement of insurrection.
The impeachment vote was the most bipartisan in history with 10 Republican lawmakers breaking ranks, compared to the five Democrats who voted to impeach Bill Clinton in 1998.
The trial in the Senate is not expected to start until after Trump has left the White House.
Trump ‘unequivocally’ condemns attack on US Capitol
After the House voted 232 to 197 to impeach him – with the support of 10 Republicans – Trump released a video statement that did not mention the historic development that had occurred a few hours earlier.In a video message posted to the official White House Twitter account Wednesday, Trump struck a conciliatory tone, urging Americans to “overcome the passions of the moment and join together as one American people,” while disavowing those who resorted to violence in the name of his cause.
Instead, he called for calm as the threat of new riots – which Trump said he’d been briefed on by the Secret Service – casts a pall over Washington.
President-elect Biden will be sworn in under heavy guard on January 20 on the steps of the Capitol, the seat of the US Congress.
“No true supporter of mine could ever endorse political violence. No true supporter of mine could ever disrespect law enforcement or our great American flag.”
Trump noted that the Jan. 6 mayhem that saw a crowd of his supporters forcing their way into the Capitol “angered and appalled millions of Americans across the political spectrum.”
“I want to be clear. I unequivocally condemn the violence we saw last week.”
While much was made of a handful of Republicans – led by Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming) who said they would back impeachment, much of the party stood by the president and spoke to that effect.
“If we impeached every politician who gave a fiery speech to a crowd of partisans, this capital would be deserted,” said Rep. Tom McClintock (R-California).
“That’s what the president did. That is all he did. He specifically told the crowd to protest peacefully and patriotically, and the vast majority of them did. But every movement has a lunatic fringe. Suppressing free speech is not the answer. Holding rioters accountable for their actions is the answer.”
“It’s always been about getting the president no matter what,” said Rep. Jim Jordan.
“It’s an obsession that has now broadened. It’s not just about impeachment anymore. It’s about canceling the president and anyone that disagrees with them.”
“We’ve been here before. We’ve done this before. This has failed before. We fractured our nation using the same process before,” said Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-New Jersey).
South African Minister dies of COVID-19
A South African Minister in the Presidency, Jackson Mthembu, has died from COVID-19 related complications,
President Cyril Ramaphosa confirmed his death on Thursday as he mourned the minister
This is coming days after Mthembu went into self-isolation after contracting COVID-19.
Ramaphosa said: “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this time of loss.
According to the President, the late Minister Mthembu was an exemplary leader, an activist and a life-long champion of freedom and democracy.
He noted that Mthembu’s death means a lot to the country as the deceased was loved and greatly respected.
Ramaphosa sent a message of condolences to Mthembu’s family, friends and colleagues.
Mthembu had served as the Whip of Parliament for the ruling African National Congress (ANC) and the national spokesperson for the ANC before appointment as a minister.
South African Minister dies of COVID-19
Palestinian inmate dies after receiving Israel vaccine
The Israel Prisons Service announced late Wednesday the death of Saasaa, 45, from Qalqilah, in northern West Bank, who suffered from several chronic diseases.
The cause of death was unclear, according to an official statement.
Israeli authorities told his family that an autopsy would be performed Thursday.
The family said he was exposed to medical negligence during his detention for more than 15 years.
Saasaa was the father of six children.
READ: Israel will be responsible for more Palestinian deaths if it withholds the Covid-19 vaccine
“We prepared a detailed report about the health situation for the detainees in Israeli jails, and we will send it via Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the human rights organizations to make an effort to protect the Palestinian inmates,” said Qadri Abu-Baker, head of the detainee commission.
The International Committee of the Red Cross said delegates are still visiting jails and facilizing the transmission of messages between detainees and families since visits were stopped at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in March.
It said it has visited more than 95% of jails and detention centers, ICRC spokesman in Palestine, Yahya Maswadeh, told Anadolu Agency.
“We are in intensive contact with the Israeli jails services about the plan for vaccination of Palestinian inmates, and we give our recommendations for giving priority for vulnerable groups inside the jails,” Maswadeh added.
The Israeli government decided to start vaccinating prisoners in different jails but risks remain and the numbers of infected detainees have been increasing recently, Abu-Baker told Anadolu Agency.
READ: Israel sharing COVID-19 data with Pfizer to fine-tune vaccine rollout