Washington: Terming last week's violence at the US Capitol a planned criminal act, President-elect Joe Biden has expressed hope that the Senate will be able to conduct the impeachment trial of Donald Trump while working on other critical issues after a House of Representatives vote made him the first American president ever to be impeached twice.
The House voted 232 to 197 on Wednesday to impeach Trump.
Ten Republican lawmakers joined the Democrats to impeach Trump for "incitement of insurrection" exactly one week after rioters stormed the US Capitol as the House certified Biden's election victory, making him the first American president to be impeached twice.
Trump was impeached the first time in December 2019 for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress for his attempt to pressure Ukraine to investigate Biden's family.
Biden, a Democrat, alleged on Wednesday that the violence was carried out by political extremists and domestic terrorists, who were incited by Trump.
"This criminal attack was planned and coordinated. It was carried out by political extremists and domestic terrorists, who were incited to this violence by President Trump. It was an armed insurrection against the United States of America. And those responsible must be held accountable," Biden said in a statement after the House of Representatives impeached Trump, a Republican.
The violence on January 6 temporarily halted the counting of Electoral College votes to certify Biden's win in the November 3 election and resulted in the deaths of five individuals, including a police officer.
"Last week, we saw an unprecedented assault on our democracy. It was unlike anything we have witnessed in the 244-year history of our nation," he said.
Windows and doors were destroyed. Offices ransacked. A Capitol Hill police officer was murdered. Another lost his life a few days later. Four other people died in the senseless mayhem of that day, said the next American president.
Biden said that the members of the House of Representatives exercised the power granted to them under the US Constitution and voted to impeach and hold the president accountable.
"It was a bipartisan vote cast by members who followed the Constitution and their conscience. The process continues to the Senate," he said.
"This nation also remains in the grip of a deadly virus and a reeling economy. I hope that the Senate leadership will find a way to deal with their Constitutional responsibilities on impeachment while also working on the other urgent business of this nation," Biden said.
"From confirmations to key posts such as Secretaries for Homeland Security, State, Defense, Treasury, and Director of National Intelligence, to getting our vaccine program on track, and to getting our economy going again. Too many of our fellow Americans have suffered for too long over the past year to delay this urgent work," he said.
"I have often said that there is nothing we can't do, if we do it together. And it has never been more critical for us to stand together as a nation than right now. So we must remember who we are as Americans and what we stand for and believe. It's time for us to be what at our best we have always been," Biden said.
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris said the storming of the Capitol Hill by supporters Trump last week marked an inflection point for America.
"Last week, of course, marked an inflection point for our country. I was horrified. As I know you all were by the attack on our Capitol, on our nation's Capital," Harris said at a virtual finance event for the Presidential Inaugural Committee.
Harris said the President-elect Biden called it an attack on democracy.
"It was an attack on the rule of law itself. And one of the lessons I hope that all of us take away from it is that our democracy is only as strong as our willingness to fight for it, our ideals are only as strong as our willingness to make them real," she said hours after Trump's impeachment.
"At that time, that meant certifying the results of this election, and to send a message, strong and clear that we will not be deterred, that our democracy will not be derailed. My hope is that the bipartisan spirit, the patriotic spirit that prevailed that night, will mark the beginning of a new era for our country," Harris said.
She said that the American people had been through difficult moments like wars, depressions and great upheavals before.
"And there have been times when the fate of our very nation hung on the balance," she said.
But America has always prevailed, its democracy has always prevailed, Harris said.
"So, I know how horrific the events of January 6 were and I know we all have work to do to reckon with all that happened," she said.