Biden says impeaching Trump is for Congress to decide

Washington, Jan 8 (efe-epa).- US President-elect Joe Biden said Friday that Donald Trump’s decision to skip the inauguration was a “good thing,” but he declined to say whether Congress should impeach the current occupant of the White House for a second time in the wake of this week’s riot at the Capitol by his supporters.

“I was told on the way over here that he indicated he wasn’t going to show up at the inauguration: One of the few things he and I have ever agreed on,” Biden said during a press conference in Wilmington, Delaware.

“It’s a good thing, him not showing up,” the president-elect added, while making it clear that Vice President Mike Pence would be welcome at the Jan. 20 ceremony.

“I’d be honored to have him there and to move forward in the transition,” Biden said of Pence, who resisted pressure from Trump to block congressional certification of the Democrat’s victory in the Nov. 3 presidential election.

“To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th,” Trump said Friday morning on Twitter, hours before the platform announced the permanent suspension of his personal account.

Though he described the Republican incumbent as “not fit” to be president, Biden was unwilling to say whether lawmakers should go forward with another impeachment of Trump, who lost his preferred means of communicating with the public Friday when Twitter announced the permanent suspension of his personal account “I think it’s important we get on with the business with getting him out of office. The quickest way that that will happen is us (Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris) being sworn in on the 20th,” the incoming president said. “What action happens before or after that is a judgment for the Congress to make.”

Media outlets reported that Democrats in the House of Representatives plan to introduce next Monday a resolution to impeach Trump on the sole charge of “instigating an insurrection.”

Democrats – and a growing number of Republicans – hold the president responsible for Wednesday’s assault on the Capitol, which resulted in five deaths.

Trump, who has spent the months since the election repeating evidence-free claims of fraud, advocated a march on the Capitol during an address to thousands of his supporters Wednesday morning.

“And after this, we’re going to walk down there … to the Capitol and we are going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women,” Trump said. “And we’re probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them. Because you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength and you have to be strong.”

Shortly after mid-day, hundreds of Trump partisans stormed the Capitol, forcing Pence – there to preside over the election certification – and lawmakers to shelter in the House and Senate chambers until they could be evacuated.

On Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi urged Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment of the Constitution, which allows the vice president and a majority to the Cabinet to remove a president if they decide that he or she is “unable to discharge the powers and duties” of the nation’s highest office.

“If the President does not leave office imminently and willingly, the Congress will proceed with our action,” Pelosi told House Democrats on Friday in a letter that also raised the specter of Trump’s starting a war during his final days in office.

“This morning, I spoke to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley to discuss available precautions for preventing an unstable president from initiating military hostilities or accessing the launch codes and ordering a nuclear strike,” the speaker wrote.

Pence appears to be unwilling to pursue a 25th Amendment solution and two Cabinet members have already resigned in repudiation of Wednesday’s events: Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, who is the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell; and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

Late Friday, Democrats were circulating a draft impeachment resolution.

The resolution consists of just one Article of Impeachment, “instigation of insurrection,” according to a copy of the draft obtained by CNN.

Trump “willfully made statements that encouraged – and forseeably resulted in – imminent lawless action at the Capitol. Incited by President Trump, a mob unlawfully breached the Capitol, injured law enforcement personnel, menaced Members of Congress and the Vice President, interfered with the Joint Session’s solemn constitutional duty to certify the election results, and engaged in violent, deadly, destructive, and seditious acts,” the document reads.

The Democratic-controlled House impeached Trump in December 2019 over his ostensible attempt to leverage military aid to get the government in Kiev to investigate business dealings in Ukraine involving Hunter Biden – Joe Biden’s son – during the time that the elder Biden was serving as vice president under Barack Obama.

The president went on to be acquitted in the Republican-majority Senate, but Trump could not be certain of the same result in a case based on his role in Wednesday’s mayhem at the Capitol.

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