Democrat momentum for a new bid to oust outgoing President Donald Trump quickly garnered support Saturday, and a senior Republican said the president’s role in the deadly riot at the Capitol by a violent crowd of supporters Trump deserved to be reprimanded.
Senator Pat Toomey, R-Pa., Said he believed Trump had committed “uneasy crimes.” But he stopped short of saying whether he would vote to remove the president from office after a Senate trial if the House sent articles of impeachment.
“I don’t know what they’re going to send and one of the things that concerns me, frankly, is whether the House would completely politicize something,” Toomey said on the Fox News Channel on Saturday, speaking of Democrats. controlled house.
“I think the president has committed uneasy crimes, but I don’t know what’s going to end up in the Senate, if any,” Toomey said.
The new Democratic effort to set Trump’s presidential record – for the second time and days before the end of his term – with the indelible mark of impeachment gained momentum on Saturday.
Representative David Cicillin, DR.I, a leader in House efforts to draft articles of impeachment – or indictments – accusing Trump of inciting insurgency, said his group has grown to include 185 co-sponsors.
Lawmakers plan to formally introduce the proposal to the House on Monday, where the articles of impeachment are expected to come from. A vote might be possible by Wednesday – exactly a week before Democrat Joe Biden becomes president at noon on January 20.
The articles, if passed by the House, would then be sent to the Senate for trial, with the senators acting as jurors who would ultimately vote on Trump’s acquittal or conviction. If found guilty, Trump would be removed from office and succeeded by the vice president.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, however, did not share any details about her party’s plans as she addressed voters in her hometown of San Francisco during an online video conference on Saturday.
“Justice will be done. Democracy will prevail. And America will be healed, ”she said. “But it’s a decision we have to make.”
A violent, largely white crowd of Trump supporters took control of the police, crossed security lines and ransacked the Capitol on Wednesday, forcing lawmakers to disperse as they put the finishing touches on Biden’s victory over Trump. at the Electoral College.
Crowds surged towards the domed symbol of American democracy following a rally near the White House, where Trump repeated his false claims that the election was stolen from him and urged his supporters to march in force towards the Capitol.
Five people, including a Capitol police officer, died as a result of the siege.
“It has been an eye opener to the world to see that there are people in our country led by this president, at the moment, who have chosen their whiteness over democracy,” Pelosi said of the attack. .
She added: “This cannot be overstated. Complicity, not just complicity, the instigation of the President of the United States, must and will be addressed.
Democratic House Leader Hakeem Jeffries of New York City reiterated his support for action against what he saw as “an act of sedition instigated and encouraged by Donald Trump.”
Speaking of Trump, Jeffries said on Saturday, “He should be indicted, convicted and kicked out of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and banished forever to the trash of history. “
The outrage over the attack and Trump’s role in instigating it capped a chaotic, divisionist presidency like few in the country’s history. There are less than two weeks until Trump is removed from office, but Democrats have made it clear they don’t want to wait that long.
Democratic leaders have called on Vice President Mike Pence and the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment to force Trump out of office. It’s a process of removing the president and installing the vice president to take over. The House impeached Trump in 2019, but the Republican-led Senate acquitted him in early 2020.
But action by Pence or the Cabinet now seems unlikely, especially after two senior officials, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Transport Secretary Elaine Chao, suddenly resigned following the violence and would no longer be in Cabinet. to make such a deal.
Trump, meanwhile, has few fellow Republicans speaking out in his defense. He has become increasingly isolated, locked in the White House as he was abandoned in the wake of the riot by many aides, prominent Republicans and, so far, two Cabinet members – both women.
Senator Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, who has long expressed exasperation at Trump’s conduct in office, told the Anchorage Daily News on Friday that he “just needed to get out.”
Senator Ben Sasse, another critic of Trump, said what happens to the American people and this union 12 days and beyond is more important than what happens to Trump.
But the Nebraska Republican also told “CBS This Morning” on Friday that he “will definitely consider” any articles the House sends because he believes Trump “ignored his oath of office” to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution.
Biden, meanwhile, reiterated that he had long viewed Trump as unfit for the job. But on Friday, he dodged a question about impeachment, saying what Congress does “it’s up to them to decide.”
After spending many weeks refusing to concede defeat in the November election, Trump vowed – after the Capitol riot – to oversee a smooth transfer of power to Biden. He called for reconciliation and healing, but then announced that he would not attend the inauguration – the first presidential snub since right after the civil war. On Saturday, a senior administration official said Pence would attend Biden’s inauguration.
With a report from Reuters