Supporters of Donald Trump outside the US Capitol during the attack on the building, January 6, 2021 (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)
The US House of Representatives files an article of impeachment against Donald Trump for “inciting violence against the government of the United States”.
The article was signed by 214 of the 222 House Democrats. Impeachment requires the support of 218 of the 435-seat chamber, which is likely to vote on Wednesday.
The article states:
President Trump gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of government. He threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power, and imperiled a coequal branch of government. He thereby betrayed his trust as president, to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.
The charge was filed after House Republicans blocked use of the 25th Amendment to declare Trump mentally unfit to hold office.
The resolution would have called on Vice President Mike Pence and the Cabinet to invoke the provision, but GOP Rep. NAME objected to its presentation to the House.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, “The President’s threat to America is urgent, and so too will be our action.”
Up to a dozen Republicans are reportedly considering support of impeachment, including the third-ranking GOP Representative, Liz Cheney of Wyoming.
Trump, who would be the only President in US history to be impeached twice, would be removed by a 2/3 majority in the Senate to convict him. However, the upper chamber’s top Republican, Mitch McConnell, is unlikely to permit a trial in the last eight days of Trump’s term.
The second-ranking Democrat in the House, Steny Hoyer of Maryland, said that impeachment must proceed to draw a line after Trump’s incitement of the Capitol attack.
Whether impeachment can pass the United States Senate is not the issue.
The issue is, we have a president who most of us believe participated in encouraging an insurrection and attack on this building, and on democracy and trying to subvert the counting of the presidential ballot.
Rep. Joe Neguse of Colorado added, “To those who would say, ‘Why do it now, there are only nine days left the president’s term?’ — I would say, ‘There are nine days in the president’s term.’”
“He Should Not Be in Office”
On Wednesday, Trump called on supporters to march on the Capitol, hoping to block Congressional confirmation of the Electoral College victory of President-elect Joe Biden.
Several hundred charged past Capitol Police to damage and loot the center of the US government. Five people died during or after the assault, including a Capitol Hill policeman beaten to death by the mob and a Trump supporter shot as a group tried to break into the building.
Biden told reporters on Monday that Trump “should not be in office”.
The President-elect eased his position on a trial after January 20, when the Democrats hold a narrow majority in the Senate.
His ally Rep. James Clyburn said on Sunday that the proceedings should not be held during the first 100 days of the Biden Administration. But Biden said yesterday that he is consulting legislators about “bifurcated” proceedings, with the Senate spending half of each day on the trial and half on legislation and the confirmation of Administration officials.
Biden said of his inauguration on January 20, “I’m not afraid of taking the oath outside” on a platform on the west side of the Capitol.
Alert Over Armed Pro-Trump Protests
The FBI issued an alert that it expects a wave of armed protests from Saturday in all 50 state capitals and Washington DC. Authorities announced fortifications, including plans the deployment of 15,000 National Guard troops for the inauguration and a multi-layered buffer zone with checkpoints around the Capitol by Wednesday.
Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser said:
If I’m scared of anything, it’s for our democracy, because we have very extreme factions in our country that are armed and dangerous. Our goals right now are to encourage Americans to participate virtually and to protect the District of Columbia from a repeat of the violent insurrection experienced at the Capitol and its grounds on January 6.
Republican leaders in the House insisted that impeachment is unnecessary, pointing to alternatives such as censure of Trump and a bipartisan commission to investigate the attack.
But they struggled amid the shock of the assault, with further video on Monday pointing to the extent of violence against Capitol Police officers and the threat against legislators who were certifying the Electoral College result.
Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy wrote colleagues:
Please know I share your anger and your pain. Zip ties were found on staff desks in my office. Windows were smashed in. Property was stolen.
Those images will never leave us — and I thank our men and women in law enforcement who continue to protect us and are working to bring the sick individuals who perpetrated these attacks to justice.