Jan 12, 2021 4:00 AM

House speeding to impeach Trump for Capitol 'insurrection'

Posted Jan 12, 2021 4:00 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Poised to impeach, the House sped ahead with plans to oust President Donald Trump from office, warning he is a threat to democracy and pushing the vice president and Cabinet to act even more quickly in an extraordinary effort to remove Trump in the final days of his presidency.

Trump faces a single charge — “incitement of insurrection” — after the deadly Capitol riot in an impeachment resolution that the House will begin debating Wednesday.

At the same time, the FBI warned ominously Monday of potential armed protests in Washington and many states by Trump loyalists ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration Jan. 20. In a dark foreshadowing, the Washington Monument was closed to the public amid the threats of disruption. Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf abruptly resigned.

It all added up to stunning final moments for Trump’s presidency as Democrats and a growing number of Republicans declare he is unfit for office and could do more damage after inciting a mob that violently ransacked the U.S. Capitol last Wednesday.

“President Trump gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of Government,” reads the four-page impeachment bill.

“He will remain a threat to national security, democracy, and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office,” it reads.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is summoning lawmakers back to Washington for votes, and Democrats aren’t the only ones who say Trump needs to go.

Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania joined GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska over the weekend in calling for Trump to “go away as soon as possible.”

Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., encouraged House GOP colleagues late Monday to “vote your conscience,” according to a person granted anonymity to discuss the private call. She has spoken critically of Trump’s actions, but has not said publicly how she will vote.

Pending impeachment, Democrats called on Vice President Mike Pence and the Cabinet to invoke their constitutional authority under the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office before Inauguration Day.

Their Democrats’ House resolution was blocked by Republicans. However, the full House is to hold a roll call vote on it Tuesday, and it is expected to pass. After that, Pelosi said, Pence will have 24 hours to respond. Next would be the impeachment proceedings.

Pence has given no indication he is ready to proceed on a course involving the 25th Amendment.

He and Trump met late Monday for the first time since the Capitol attack, a senior administration official said.

Trump and Pence had a “good conversation” in the Oval Office discussing the week ahead, and they pledged to continue working for the remainder of their terms, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the private meeting.

No member of the Cabinet has publicly called for Trump to be removed from office though the 25th Amendment.

As security tightened, Biden said Monday he was “not afraid” of taking the oath of office outside — as is traditionally done at the Capitol’s west steps, one of the areas where people stormed the building.

As for the rioters, Biden said, “It is critically important that there’ll be a real serious focus on holding those folks who engaged in sedition and threatening the lives, defacing public property, caused great damage -- that they be held accountable.”

Biden said he’s had conversations with senators ahead of a possible impeachment trial, which some have worried would cloud the opening days of his administration.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer was exploring ways to immediately convene the Senate for the trial as soon as the House acts, though Republican leader Mitch McConnell would need to agree. The president-elect suggested splitting the Senate’s time, perhaps “go a half day on dealing with impeachment, a half day on getting my people nominated and confirmed in the Senate, as well as moving on the package” for more COVID relief.

As Congress briefly resumed Monday, an uneasiness swept government. More lawmakers tested positive for COVID-19 after sheltering during the siege. And new security officials were quickly installed after the Capitol police chief and others were ousted in fallout from the attack on the iconic dome of democracy. Some GOP lawmakers, including Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley, faced public blowback for their efforts on the day of the riot trying to overturn Biden’s election.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., offered the 25th Amendment resolution during Monday’s brief session. It was blocked by Rep. Alex Mooney, R-W.Va., as other GOP lawmakers stood by him.

Pelosi said the Republicans were enabling Trump’s “unhinged, unstable and deranged acts of sedition to continue. Their complicity endangers America, erodes our Democracy, and it must end.”

However, House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy, a Trump ally, said in a letter to colleagues that “impeachment at this time would have the opposite effect of bringing our country together.”

He said he would review possible censure of the president. But House Republicans are split and a few may vote to impeach.

The impeachment bill from Reps. David Cicilline of Rhode Island, Ted Lieu of California, Jamie Raskin of Maryland and and Jerrold Nadler of New York draws from Trump’s own false statements about his election defeat to Biden.

Judges across the country, including some nominated by Trump, have repeatedly dismissed cases challenging the election results, and Attorney General William Barr, a Trump ally, has said there was no sign of widespread fraud.

The impeachment legislation also details Trump’s pressure on state officials in Georgia to “find” him more votes, as well as his White House rally ahead of the Capitol siege, in which he encouraged thousands of supporters last Wednesday to “fight like hell” and march to the building.

The mob overpowered police, broke through security lines and windows and rampaged through the Capitol, forcing lawmakers to scatter as they were finalizing Biden’s victory over Trump in the Electoral College.

While some have questioned impeaching the president so close to the end of his term, Democrats and others argue he must be held accountable and prevented from holding future public office. He would be the only president twice impeached.

House Democrats have been considering a strategy to delay for 100 days sending articles of impeachment to the Senate for trial, to allow Biden to focus on other priorities.

There is precedent for pursuing impeachment after an official leaves office. In 1876, during the Ulysses Grant administration, War Secretary William Belknap was impeached by the House the day he resigned, and the Senate convened a trial months later. He was acquitted.

Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., said he would take a look at any articles that the House sent over. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., a frequent Trump critic, said he would “vote the right way” if the matter were put in front of him.

Cicilline, leader of the House effort, tweeted Monday that “we now have the votes to impeach,” including 213 cosponsors and private commitments.

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the fallout of the storming of the Capitol by a mob of pro-Trump loyalists 

Democrats say the House will consider the impeachment of President Donald Trump on Wednesday, one week after an angry mob of his supporters invaded the Capitol.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told Democrats on a call Monday that members should plan to return to Washington on Tuesday evening to consider a House resolution calling on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke constitutional authority to remove Trump from office. That resolution is expected to pass, but Pence is unlikely to act.

Hoyer says the House will then consider impeachment on Wednesday.

House Democrats have moved quickly to draft an article of impeachment charging Trump with incitement of insurrection because he egged on thousands of his supporters ahead of the riots by falsely telling them that the election was stolen from him.

One of the Democratic sponsors of the article, Rhode Island Rep. David Cicilline, says they have the votes to pass it.

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Impeachment pressure mounting, the House is working swiftly to try to oust President Donald Trump from office. Democrats are pushing the vice president and Cabinet to invoke constitutional authority to remove Trump from office. A resolution calling on Pence to do so was blocked Monday by Republicans.

But more votes are expected Tuesday, with an impeachment vote Wednesday. Biden said those who “engaged in sedition” must be held accountable. Trump is to face a single charge — “incitement of insurrection” — over the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol. Speaker Nancy Pelosi says the House will proceed with legislation to impeach Trump if Pence doesn't help. Trump is set to leave Jan. 20 when Democrat Joe Biden is inaugurated.

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WASHINGTON (AP) — A House resolution calling on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke constitutional authority to remove President Donald Trump from office has been blocked by Republicans.

As the House prepares for impeachment, President Donald Trump faces a single charge — “incitement of insurrection” — over the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol. That's according to a draft of the articles obtained by The Associated Press.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi says the House will proceed with legislation to impeach Trump as she pushes the vice president to invoke constitutional authority to force him out.

The House action could start as soon as Monday. The president is holed up at the White House.

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WASHINGTON (AP) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says the House will proceed with legislation to impeach President Donald Trump as she pushes the vice president and the Cabinet to invoke constitutional authority force him out, warning that Trump is a threat to democracy after the deadly assault on the Capitol.

The House action could start as soon as Monday as pressure increases on Trump to step aside. A Republican senator, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, joined Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska in calling for Trump to “resign and go away as soon as possible.”

A stunning end to Trump’s final 10 days in office was underway as lawmakers warned of the damage the president could still do before Joe Biden was inaugurated Jan. 20. Trump, holed up at the White House, was increasingly isolated after a mob rioted in the Capitol in support of his false claims of election fraud.

Judges across the country, including some nominated by Trump, repeatedly dismissed cases and Attorney General William Barr, a Trump ally, said there was no sign of any widespread fraud. Pelosi emphasized the need for quick action.

“We will act with urgency, because this President represents an imminent threat,” Pelosi said in a letter late Sunday to colleagues.

“The horror of the ongoing assault on our democracy perpetrated by this President is intensified and so is the immediate need for action.”

On Monday, Pelosi’s leadership team will seek a vote on a resolution calling on Vice President Mike Pence and Cabinet officials to invoke the 25th Amendment, with a full House vote expected on Tuesday.

After that, Pence and the Cabinet would have 24 hours to act before the House would move toward impeachment.

During an interview on “60 Minutes” aired Sunday, Pelosi invoked the Watergate era when Republicans in the Senate told President Richard Nixon, “It’s over.”

“That’s what has to happen now,” she said.

With impeachment planning intensifying, Toomey said he doubted impeachment could be done before Biden is inaugurated, even though a growing number of lawmakers say that step is necessary to ensure Trump can never hold elected office again.

“I think the president has disqualified himself from ever, certainly, serving in office again,” Toomey said. “I don’t think he is electable in any way.”

Murkowski, long exasperated with the president, told the Anchorage Daily News on Friday that Trump simply “needs to get out.” A third, Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., did not go that far, but on Sunday he warned Trump to be “very careful” in his final days in office.

House Democrats were expected to introduce articles of impeachment on Monday. The strategy would be to condemn the president’s actions swiftly but delay an impeachment trial in the Senate for 100 days. That would allow President-elect Joe Biden to focus on other priorities as soon as he is inaugurated Jan. 20.

Rep. Jim Clyburn, the third-ranking House Democrat and a top Biden ally, laid out the ideas Sunday as the country came to grips with the siege at the Capitol by Trump loyalists trying to overturn the election results.

“Let’s give President-elect Biden the 100 days he needs to get his agenda off and running,” Clyburn said.

Corporate America began to show its reaction to the Capitol riots by tying them to campaign contributions.

Blue Cross Blue Shield Association’s CEO and President Kim Keck said it will not contribute to those lawmakers — all Republicans — who supported challenges to Biden’s Electoral College win. The group “will suspend contributions to those lawmakers who voted to undermine our democracy,” Kim said.

Citigroup did not single out lawmakers aligned with Trump’s effort to overturn the election, but said it would be pausing all federal political donations for the first three months of the year. Citi’s head of global government affairs, Candi Wolff, said in a Friday memo to employees, “We want you to be assured that we will not support candidates who do not respect the rule of law.”

Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has said an impeachment trial could not begin under the current calendar before Inauguration Day, Jan. 20.

While many have criticized Trump, Republicans have said that impeachment would be divisive in a time of unity.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said that instead of coming together, Democrats want to “talk about ridiculous things like ‘Let’s impeach a president’” with just days left in office.

Still, some Republicans might be supportive.

Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse said he would take a look at any articles that the House sent over. Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger, a frequent Trump critic, said he would “vote the right way” if the matter were put in front of him.

The Democratic effort to stamp Trump’s presidential record — for the second time — with the indelible mark of impeachment had advanced rapidly since the riot.

Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I, a leader of the House effort to draft impeachment articles accusing Trump of inciting insurrection, said Sunday that his group had 200-plus co-sponsors.

The articles, if passed by the House, could then be transmitted to the Senate for a trial, with senators acting as jurors to acquit or convict Trump. If convicted, Trump would be removed from office and succeeded by the vice president. It would be the first time a U.S. president had been impeached twice.

Potentially complicating Pelosi’s decision about impeachment was what it meant for Biden and the beginning of his presidency. While reiterating that he had long viewed Trump as unfit for office, Biden on Friday sidestepped a question about impeachment, saying what Congress did “is for them to decide.”

A violent and largely white mob of Trump supporters overpowered police, broke through security lines and windows and rampaged through the Capitol on Wednesday, forcing lawmakers to scatter as they were finalizing Biden’s victory over Trump in the Electoral College.

Toomey appeared on CNN’s “State of the Union” and NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Clyburn was on “Fox News Sunday” and CNN. Kinzinger was on ABC’s “This Week,” Blunt was on CBS’ “Face the Nation” and Rubio was on Fox News Channel’s “Sunday Morning Futures.”

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