House Democrats on Monday introduced an impeachment resolution against President Donald Trump accusing the outgoing president of inciting the mob that launched a failed occupation of the Capitol last week, vowing to impeach the president with less than two weeks left before he exits office.
The move comes as Republicans have blocked a separate bid to demand that Vice President Mike Pence remove Trump’s presidential powers by invoking the 25th Amendment, which allows for power to be transferred from the president to the vice president, either temporarily or permanently.
The harshly-worded impeachment resolution, which has the backing of at least 210 Democrats, accuses Trump of making repeated false claims about widespread fraud in the 2020 election for the purpose of “incitement of an insurrection” resulting in the botched takeover of the Capitol building, and says that the president “engaged in high Crimes and Misdemeanors by inciting violence against the Government of the United States.”
“In all this, President Trump gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of Government,” the article reads.
“He threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power, and imperiled a coequal branch of government,” it continues. “He therefore betrayed his trust as President, to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.”
“Donald John Trump, by such conduct, has demonstrated that he will remain a threat to national security, democracy, and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office, and has acted in a manner grossly incompatible with self-governance and the rule of law,” the article adds.
“Donald John Trump thus warrants impeachment and trial, removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States,” the document continues, along with a clause that would block Trump from running for reelection in 2024.
The move comes as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her caucus have been dialing up the pressure on the vice president to intervene and dislodge Trump from his seat off office, either by pressuring him to resign or invoking the 25th Amendment. Under the amendment, Pence would be enabled to take power as acting president if a majority of the Cabinet determines that Trump is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.”
“[T]hese insurrectionary protests were widely advertised and broadly encouraged by President Donald J. Trump, who repeatedly urged his millions of followers on Twitter and other social media outlets to come to Washington on Jan. 6 to ‘Stop the Steal’ of the 2020 Presidential election,” reads the 25th Amendment resolution from Rep. Jamie Baskin, referring to the large rally organized by the president and the Trump campaign the outside the White House in the hours preceding the unrest.
If the pressure fails, Democrats are promising severe consequences for Trump’ role in an attack they fear may have endangered the lives of Pence, members of Congress, and thousands of staffers on Capitol Hill.
“The president’s threat to America is urgent, and so too will be our action,” Speaker Pelosi said on Monday.
Predictably, responses to the Democratic bid largely broke down along partisan lines, with members of the GOP dismissing the resolution calling for the invocation of the 25th Amendment, meaning that the resolution will be subject to a full vote, probably on Tuesday. Leaders of the Democratic Party are optimistic that it will pass, and are piling pressure on Republican legislators to join them in the vote to pressure Pence to take the extraordinary measure, which he is said to be opposed to, reports New York Times.
On Friday, White House spokesman Judd Deere cautioned against impeaching Trump and warned that such a move would only keep passions inflamed.
“A politically motivated impeachment against a President, who has done a great job, with 12 days remaining in his term will only serve to further divide our great country,” Deere said in a statement.
While numerous GOP legislators have called on Trump to resign, they haven’t yet signaled whether they will endorse a Democrat-led bid to impeach him. Likewise, it remains unclear if the Senate would even take up the measure in the final days of his presidency.
House Majority Whip James Clyburn also said over the weekend that House Democrats may wait until after President-elect Joe Biden’s first 100 days in office to send articles of impeachment to the Senate, a move they believe would allow Biden to tackle his agenda before the time-consuming trial.
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