Deirdre Walsh at NPR has identified what she sees as four ways that Trump’s impeachment will change Washington. She cites:
1. Trump makes history that no president wants — the first to be impeached twice. He also is the president who has had the most members of his own party vote for impeachment.
2. The cracks of Republican party are out in the open, growing larger in real time. There are no signs the president’s base is abandoning him, but the split among congressional Republicans about the future of the party is accelerating.
3. President-elect Biden’s agenda gets complicated. Even before Wednesday’s vote Biden’s allies openly worried about what starting the impeachment train moving would mean for the incoming president’s ability to secure Senate confirmation for his cabinet nominees and press for top priorities like coronavirus relief. Now that reality is setting in and the trial will commence likely shortly after Biden takes office.
4. The US Capitol has been forever changed by 6 January. The images of magnetometers stationed around the House chamber, National Guard troops napping on marble floors coddling their weapons, and remnants of broken windows make it apparent that things have dramatically changed in the building. The symbol for democracy used to be a frequent tourist attraction pre-pandemic for school groups learning about the country’s founders and history. Now, it has a new image of what can happen when political rhetoric ignites supporters to turn on their opponents.
The National Guard has started to move into Washington en masse in an attempt to prevent violence in the run up to the inauguration of Joe Biden next week.
As Congress acted to impeach Donald Trump on Wednesday and the president urged his supporters to shun violence, the National Guard started to deploy 20,000 troops in the US capital.
At Trump’s inauguration in 2016, the figure was about 8,000.
The National Guard are on a 24-hour watch in the US Capitol after last week’s violence, with off-duty members catching naps in hallways and below the bust of General George Washington.
Riot shields and gas masks were piled in the hallways, with large numbers of Guard members in fatigues and carrying rifles stationed around the exterior of the building.
Troops have been present at the seat of Congress since at least Friday but more were due to arrive before inauguration day, according to the city’s acting police chief Robert Contee.
The preparations continued as Trump said in in a White House statement: “In light of reports of more demonstrations, I urge that there must be no violence, no lawbreaking and no vandalism of any kind. That is not what I stand for, and it is not what America stands for.”
New fencing and other security measures have also gone up around the building, a global symbol of democracy. A seven-foot (two-metre) high fence has been erected around the Capitol, with metal barriers and National Guard troops protecting the congressional office buildings that surround it.