Long Island officials vote to impeach Trump for second time

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President Donald Trump was impeached for the second time in his presidency on Wednesday. (Photo by Stephen Romano)

U.S. Reps. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) and Kathleen Rice (D-Garden City) voted to impeach President Donald Trump last Wednesday as he became the only U.S. president to be impeached more than once.

The vote came a week after local representatives were caught in the middle when a mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6 after the president urged them to act on his baseless claims that the election had been stolen from him. Both officials were in the Capitol building when the protesters violently invaded the building.

Members of the House of Representatives voted 232-197 to impeach the president. Suozzi and Rice voted in favor of the president’s impeachment last year as well as this year.

“If we do not hold the President accountable for this act of sedition, it would set a dangerous precedent and pose a lethal threat to the future of democracy in this country,” Rice said. “For that reason, I voted today to impeach Donald Trump. He must now be convicted by the Senate and removed from office immediately.”

“President Trump instigated this and must be held accountable,” Suozzi said.  “The President’s duty is to protect our Republic and its people. Yet, he built a mob, filled it with lies, and encouraged it to ‘fight to stop the steal.’ Now we hear intelligence reports that thousands of armed militias and white supremacists are planning to come again on or before January 20th.”

Suozzi spoke to reporters by phone from an undisclosed location during the invasion of the Capitol building. Suozzi said he and his staff were among the last people to evacuate, and  they heard a “pop-pop-pop” noise as they tried to decide how to exit the House chamber. He clarified that he did not know if the noises were gunshots or tear gas.  Suozzi also described some of the apparel and flags that were on display.

“Thousands of people – criminals – desecrated our Capitol, breaking in windows and doors, attacking our brave officers and vandalized offices,” Suozzi said. “Rioters wearing army fatigues waved Confederate and Trump flags, donned Nazi swastikas and I saw one man who wore a shirt saying, ‘Camp Auschwitz – Staff.’”

As protesters stormed into the Capitol, two Democratic Senate candidates from Georgia won their runoff elections, giving Democrats control of the Senate. The two elections resulted in U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York becoming the new Senate majority leader. The Senate is split 50-50 and the Democrats hold control because Vice President-elect Kamala Harris votes in case of a tie.

State and Nassau County Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs called the invasion of the Capitol a “failed coup attempt,” and criticized Trump’s efforts to challenge the Electoral College results. 

Jacobs singled out U.S. Reps. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley), Elise Stefanik (R-Schuylerville), Nicole Malliotakis (R, C-Brooklyn, Staten Island), and Chris Jacobs (R-Orchard Park) as being complicit in Trump’s call to action, and demanded all four resign.

Zeldin has recently been ostracized on Twitter and on the streets from people in his district who do not agree with his decision to challenge the election results and vote against impeaching Trump.

“Democrats just threw more fuel on the fire by ramming through score settling, hastily drafted articles of impeachment just a week before the inauguration,” Zeldin tweeted. “I voted NO on this latest push that will only serve to divide our nation further.”

Newly elected U.S. Rep. Andrew Garbarino (R-Bay Shore) said he believed Trump should bear some of the blame for the attack on the Capitol, but ultimately decided to vote not to impeach the president.

“A serious impeachment process requires adequate investigations, congressional hearings, and careful deliberation on behalf of all Members of Congress and their constituents,” Garbarino said. “I am extremely concerned that the impeachment process we have embarked on this week sets a dangerous precedent and will only mean hastier and more political impeachment proceedings for future divided governments.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) said he would not bring senators back into session until the final full day of the President’s term on Tuesday, delaying a Senate trial on the impeachment until after Trump left office.

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