Trump faces a single charge of “incitement of insurrection” – after a violent mob of his supporters overpowered police, broke through security lines and rampaged through the Capitol last week in protest of the formalisation of Joe Biden’s electoral victory.
It was the most serious and deadly domestic incursion at the Capitol in the nation’s history. Five people, including a police officer, died as a result of the siege.
Trump will now face a trial in the Senate – the upper house of the US Congress – with senators acting as jurors to acquit or convict him.
If convicted, Trump would be removed from office and succeeded by the vice president, though only for a few days before Biden’s inauguration.
But neither Republicans nor Democrats are keen to have a Senate trial straight away, as it would likely hamstring Biden’s first weeks in office and overshadow his agenda.
Unlike last time, Republicans have been reluctant to rally round Trump and a number of senior party members broke ranks and backed the impeachment efforts.
Representative Liz Cheney, the third most senior Republican and daughter of former vice president Dick Cheney, said on Tuesday: “There has never been a greater betrayal by a president of the United States of his office and his oath to the constitution.”
The New York Times had reported that the Republican majority leader of the US Senate, Mitch McConnell, was said to be pleased about the Democratic impeachment push, suggesting Trump’s party was looking to move on from him after the attack on Congress.
McConnell believes the impeachment effort will make it easier to purge Trump from the party, the paper said.
Before proceeding with impeachment, the House pressed vice president Mike Pence and the Cabinet to remove Trump by invoking the never-before-used 25th amendment to the Constitution to declare the president unable to serve.
Pence refused to do so and the Democrats introduced the Article of Impeachment on Monday.
It read: “President Trump gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of government.
“He will remain a threat to national security, democracy and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office.”
The violence in the Capitol came directly after Trump encouraged a crowd of supporters in DC to take action and repeated baseless claims of election fraud.
Despite later releasing a video condemning the violence, Trump was said to initially have been “delighted” at the chaos.