Donald Trump faced fresh calls on Sunday from some members of his own party to step down following the violent incursion on the U.S. Capitol, as the threat grows for a historic second impeachment effort in his last 10 days at the White House.
As Democrat Joe Biden’s nomination on Jan. 20 quickly approaches – and the country is struck by a growing pandemic, a declining economy and searing division – resignation “is the best way forward,” said Republican Senator Pat Toomey to CNN, adding, “That would be a great result. ”
Toomey said that since his loss in the Nov. 3 election, Trump had “fallen into a level of insanity and engaged in absolutely unthinkable and unforgivable activity.”
Democrats have said about 200 of their lawmakers have lined up for impeachment, with a House of Representatives vote possible as early as this week, but a Senate trial may have been delayed by several months to help Biden solve the country’s urgent problems without hindrance.
Lisa Murkowski of Alaska was the first Republican senator to call for Trump’s resignation, saying, “I want him out.” House Republicans, including Adam Kinzinger on Sunday, echoed the call.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation and other authorities continue to search for Trump supporters who violently stormed the Capitol on Wednesday after the president’s repeated false claims that he lost to Biden due to fraud. Dozens have already been arrested.
Hundreds of police on Sunday leave lined Constitution Avenue in Washington and greeted as a hearse rolled slowly carrying the body of Brian Sicknick, the police officer who died in the chaotic attack on Capitol Hill.
Security was increased following the attack. A black metal fence seven feet high (about two meters) was erected around the historic building. Extremists threatened further action in the coming days both in Washington and in state capitals.
– Letter of indictment –
A Democratic House leader said Biden’s party would likely file at least one article of impeachment against Trump this week, accusing him of inciting violence, which left five people dead, including a Capitol Hill cop.
“It may be Tuesday or Wednesday before action is taken,” House Whip James Clyburn told CNN, “but I think it will be taken this week.”
Impeachment could still be bypassed by resigning Trump or resorting to the 25th Amendment to the Constitution, which would remove him from power but require the assent of the vice president and most of the cabinet, making it unlikely.
One of the reasons Democrats might seek a conviction, even after Trump leaves, is to prevent him from running for federal election again.
The president has so far resisted any discussion of the resignation and is said to be furious at Pence’s rejection of Trump’s vocal pressure to somehow intervene in Congress’ confirmation on Wednesday of the Biden’s election victory.
Trump has remained largely silent in recent days – making no statements and holding no press conferences. Twitter, his favorite public platform, banned him for language that could incite violence.
– The role of Pelosi –
For now, the question of whether and when to impeach largely rests in the hands of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
In an interview that aired Sunday on CBS’s “60 Minutes,” Pelosi said, “I love the 25th Amendment because it gets rid of it. He is dismissed from his post. But there is strong support in Congress to impeach the president a second time. ”
The Democratic-controlled House is expected to approve the articles, but there were signs on Sunday that a Senate impeachment trial might not open for months.
Senate rules mean the Upper House likely wouldn’t be able to open a trial until January 19, and Toomey said he’s not sure it’s constitutionally possible to impeach someone once out of office.
“Let’s give President-elect Biden the 100 days” at the start of his term to deal with the most pressing issues, Clyburn said. “Maybe we’ll send the items out a bit later. ”
And West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, a centrist Democrat whose vote could be crucial in the equally divided new Senate, told CNN that an impeachment after Jan. 20 “makes no sense. ”
© 2021 AFP