Democrats poised to impeach Trump a second time
Washington, Jan 11 (efe-epa).- The Democratic majority in the US House of Representatives took the first step Monday toward impeaching outgoing President Donald Trump for allegedly instigating last week’s attack on the Capitol by his supporters, an incident that resulted in five deaths.
The impeachment resolution, which has 218 cosponsors, will be put to a vote Wednesday morning, CNN reported, citing sources on a conference call among Democratic House members.
Democrats hold 222 of the 435 House seats and the resolution is sure to pass, forcing the Republican-controlled to put Trump on trial for the second time in a year.
The majority leader in the upper chamber, Kentucky’s Mitch McConnell, has said that without agreement from all 100 senators, the soonest he could bring the Senate back into session would be Jan. 19, a day before Democrat Joe Biden is to be inaugurated as Trump’s successor.
Monday’s House session began with a motion by Maryland Rep. Steny Hoyer, the top deputy to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, seeking unanimous consent for a resolution demanding that Vice President Mike Pence move to oust Trump via the 25th Amendment of the US Constitution.
The amendment includes a mechanism allowing 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.
As expected, Republicans refused Hoyer’s request for unanimous consent, so Democrats will have to pass the 25th Amendment resolution on Tuesday through the regular process.
Pelosi said that once the resolution is approved, Pence will have 24 hours to act before the House proceeds with impeachment.
House Democrats say they expect some of their Republican colleagues to join them in voting for impeachment on this occasion.
The 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 Senate, where the only Republican to vote for conviction was Mitt Romney of Utah, but Trump could not be certain of the same result in a case arising from last Wednesday’s mayhem at the Capitol.
A significant number of Republicans, including former President George W. Bush, blame the president responsible for the assault.
Trump, who has spent the months since the Nov. 3 election repeating evidence-free claims of fraud, advocated a march on the Capitol during an address to thousands of his supporters on the morning of Wednesday, Jan. 6.
“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.
Four people died on Wednesday. While three of those fatalities were said to have been due to individual “medical emergencies” on the Capitol grounds, the fourth victim was a woman shot by police as she tried to climb through a shattered window into the House chamber.
One of the police officers on duty at the Capitol during the attack died Thursday of injuries received when an attacker hurled a fire extinguisher at his head.
The leader of the Republican minority in the House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy, said last week that a history-making second impeachment of Trump would further exacerbate political polarization in the United States.
Questions have been raised about the utility of impeaching a president so close to the end of his term, but Democrats insist on the need for accountability.
They also note that one of the sanctions available to senators if they convict Trump is to bar him from ever holding public office again, eliminating the possibility that he might seek to return to the White House in 2024.