Congress has impeached Donald Trump for his incitement of a mob attack on the Capitol

OF ALL THE democratic norms President Donald Trump has broken during four years in the White House, none is as important as the peaceful transition of power. The photos, videos and accounts that have emerged since the ransacking of the Capitol on January 6th include footage of rioters beating a police officer with a flagpole as a crowd chanted “USA” and crushing another officer repeatedly in a door. Yet the violence, which resulted in five deaths, was nearly much worse. Quick-thinking police officers distracted the mob from breaching the debating chambers long enough to whisk every lawmaker to safety. Some of the rioters, chanting “Hang Mike Pence” and “Where’s Nancy?”, had violent designs on both the Republican vice-president and the speaker of the House—the first and second in the line of presidential succession.

In the final days of Mr Trump’s administration, Congress will be consumed with working out how to penalise the president. The House of Representatives, which is controlled by Democrats, quickly drew up an article of impeachment accusing the president of “incitement of insurrection”. It passed on January 13th, one week after the attack on the Capitol. Some Republicans, after encouraging or standing by mute as the president attacked the democratic process for months, have shaken consciences. Ten of them joined all 222...

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