While Trump’s first impeachment trial in 2019 did not bring Republican votes in the House, a small but significant number of leaders and lawmakers are breaking with the party to join the Democrats, saying Trump violated his oath to protect and defend democracy. American.
The impressive collapse of Trump’s final days in office, against alarming warnings of more violence from his supporters, leaves the nation at an uncomfortable and unfamiliar juncture before Democrat Joe Biden takes office on January 20.
“If inviting a mob to rise up against their own government is not an event that can be contested, what is it?” said Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Maryland, writer of the impeachment article.
Trump, who would become the only US president to be accused twice, faces a single count of “incitement to insurrection.”
The four-page impeachment resolution draws on Trump’s own incendiary rhetoric and the falsehoods he spread about Biden’s election victory, including at a White House rally on the day of the Jan.6 attack on Capitol Hill, to build your case of serious crimes and misdemeanors as required in the Constitution.
Trump took no responsibility for the riot, suggesting it was the impetus to overthrow him rather than his actions surrounding the bloody riot that was dividing the country.
“Continuing on this path, I believe it is causing tremendous danger to our country, and it is causing great anger,” Trump said Tuesday, his first remarks to reporters since last week’s violence.
A Capitol police officer died from injuries sustained in the riots and a woman was shot and killed by police during the siege. Three other people died in what authorities said were medical emergencies. Lawmakers had to fight for safety and hide as rioters took control of the Capitol and delayed the last step for hours to finalize Biden’s victory.
The outgoing president did not offer condolences for those killed or injured, only saying: “I don’t want violence.”
At least five Republican lawmakers, including House Republican Liz Cheney of Wyoming, were not swayed by the president’s logic. Republicans announced that they would vote to impeach Trump, dividing the Republican leadership and the party itself.
“The President of the United States summoned this mob, rallied the mob, and lit the flame of this attack,” Cheney said in a statement. “There has never been a greater betrayal by a president of the United States in charge and his oath to the Constitution.”
Unlike a year ago, Trump faces impeachment as a weakened leader, having lost his own re-election and the Senate Republican majority.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky is said to be angry at Trump, and it is unclear how an impeachment trial would unfold. In the House of Representatives, Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy of California, a top Trump ally, was quick to suggest lighter censorship, but that option fell apart.
So far, Republican Representatives John Katko of New York, a former federal prosecutor; Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, an Air Force veteran; Fred Upton from Michigan; and Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington State announced that they too would join Cheney in voting for impeachment.
The House first tried to pressure Vice President Mike Pence and the Cabinet to intervene, and late Tuesday passed a resolution asking them to invoke the 25th Amendment to the Constitution to remove Trump from office. The resolution urged Pence to “declare what is obvious to a horrified nation: that the president cannot successfully fulfill the duties and powers of his office.”
Pence made it clear that he would not, saying in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that it was “time to unite our country as we prepare to take office from President-elect Joe Biden.”
The debate over the resolution was intense after lawmakers returned the Capitol for the first time from the site.
Rep. Sylvia Garcia, a Texas Democrat, argued that Trump should go because, as she said in Spanish, he is “crazy,” crazy.
In opposition, Republican Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio said the “cancellation culture” was just trying to cancel the president. He said Democrats had been trying to reverse the 2016 election since Trump took office and were ending his term in the same way.
While House Republican leaders are allowing grassroots lawmakers to vote in conscience on impeachment, it is far from clear that the two-thirds vote in the evenly divided Senate needed to convict and impeach Trump would follow. . Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania joined Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska over the weekend in calling on Trump to “leave as soon as possible.”
With just over a week remaining in Trump’s term, the FBI has alarmingly warned of possible armed protests by Trump loyalists ahead of Biden’s inauguration. Capitol Police urged lawmakers to be vigilant.
With new security, lawmakers had to go through metal detectors to enter the House chamber, not far from where the Capitol police, weapons in hand, had closed the door against the rioters. Some Republican lawmakers complained about the screening.
Biden has said that it is important to make sure that “people who engaged in sedition and threatened lives, defacing public property, caused great damage, that they are held accountable.”
Avoiding concerns that an impeachment trial would bog down his first days in office, the president-elect is encouraging senators to divide their time between assuming their priorities of confirming their nominees and approving COVID-19 relief while also carrying out the trial.
The impeachment bill is based on Trump’s own false statements about his electoral loss to Biden. Justices across the country, including some Trump nominees, have repeatedly dismissed cases challenging the election results, and former Attorney General William Barr, a Trump ally, has said there were no signs of widespread fraud.
Like the resolution to invoke the 25th Amendment, the impeachment bill also details Trump’s pressure on state officials in Georgia to “find” him more votes and his White House rally rants against “fighting like hell.” heading to the Capitol.
While some have questioned the removal of the president so close to the end of his term, there is a precedent. In 1876, during the Ulysses Grant administration, the House indicted Secretary of War William Belknap the day he resigned, and the Senate called a trial months later. He was acquitted.