House voting today on impeachment
Pence won’t invoke 25th Amendment
The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — The U.S. House rushed ahead Tuesday toward impeaching President Donald Trump for the deadly Capitol attack, taking time only to try to persuade his vice president to push him out first. Trump showed no remorse, blaming impeachment itself for the “tremendous anger” in America.
Already scheduled to leave office next week, Trump is on the verge of becoming the only president in history to be twice impeached. His rhetoric at a rally ahead of the Capitol uprising is now in the impeachment charge against him, even as the falsehoods he spread about election fraud are still being championed by some Republicans.
The House convened Tuesday night to vote on urging Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to the Constitution to remove Trump with a Cabinet vote. But shortly before that, Pence said he would not do so in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
“I urge my Republican colleagues to open their eyes and to finally hold this president accountable,” Pelosi told her colleagues on the House floor late Tuesday. “The story of our country, and the future of our very democracy, are at stake.”
The Democratic-led House is expected to vote to impeach Trump today, with some GOP votes.
Pence said that the 25th Amendment would not be in the best interest of the nation or consistent with the Constitution.
and that it was “time to unite our country as we prepare to inaugurate President-elect Joe Biden.”
Trump faces a single charge — “incitement of insurrection” — in the impeachment resolution after the most serious and deadly domestic incursion at the Capitol in the nation’s history.
Meanwhile, four Republican lawmakers, including third-ranking House GOP leader Liz Cheney of Wyoming, announced they would vote to impeach Trump on Wednesday, cleaving the Republican leadership, and the party itself. Michigan Rep. Fred Upton joined Cheny, Rep. John Katko of New York and Adam Kinsinger of Illinois in supporting impeachment late Tuesday night.
“The President of the United States summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack,” said Cheney in a statement. “There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.”
As lawmakers reconvened at the Capitol for the first time since the bloody siege, they were bracing for more violence ahead of Democratic President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, Jan. 20.
“All of us have to do some soul searching,” said Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, imploring other Republicans to join.
Trump, meanwhile, warned the lawmakers off impeachment and suggested it was the drive to oust him that was dividing the country.
“To continue on this path, I think it’s causing tremendous danger to our country, and it’s causing tremendous anger,” Trump said.
In his first remarks to reporters since last week’s violence, the outgoing president offered no condolences for those dead or injured, only saying, “I want no violence.”
During an emotional debate ahead of the House action, Rep. Norma Torres, D-Calif., urged her Republican colleagues to understand the stakes, recounting a phone call from her son as she fled during the siege.
“Sweetie, I’m OK,” she told him. “I’m running for my life.”
But Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, a top Trump ally just honored this week at the White House, refused to concede that Biden won the election outright.
Democratic Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., tied such talk to the Capitol attack, interjecting, “People came here because they believed the lie.”
Two Republicans, Reps. John Katko of New York, a former federal prosecutor, and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, an Air Force veteran, announced they, too, would vote to impeach.
A handful of other House Republicans could join in the impeachment vote, but it’s not clear there would be a the two-thirds vote needed to convict from the narrowly divided Senate, though some Republicans say it’s time for Trump to resign.
The unprecedented events, with just over a week remaining in Trump’s term, are unfolding in a nation bracing for more unrest. The FBI has warned ominously of potential armed protests in Washington and many states by Trump loyalists ahead of Biden’s inauguration and Capitol Police warned lawmakers to be on alert. The inauguration ceremony on the west steps of the Capitol will be off limits to the public.
Lawmakers were required to pass through metal detectors to enter the House chamber, not far from where Capitol police, guns drawn, had barricaded the door against the rioters. Some Republican lawmakers complained about it.
A Capitol police officer died from injuries suffered in the riot, and police shot a woman during the violence. Three other people died in what authorities said were medical emergencies.
In the Senate, Republican 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.”
Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, did not go that far, but on Tuesday called on Trump to address the nation and explicitly urge his supporters to refrain from further violence. If not, he said, Trump “will bear responsibility.”