U.S House Democrats press forward on impeachment vote
Democrats in the House of Representatives stood poised for a history-making vote to try to remove the president from office, with at least five Republicans joining their push to impeach President Donald Trump over the storming of the U.S. Capitol.
Representative Liz Cheney, the No. 3 House Republican, said: “There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.”
Three other Republican House members, John Katko, Adam Kinzinger and Fred Upton, said they would also vote for impeachment.
Republican leaders in the House did not urge their members to vote against impeaching Trump, saying it was a matter of individual conscience.
With eight days remaining in Trump’s term, the House will vote on Wednesday on an article of impeachment accusing the Republican of inciting insurrection in a speech to his followers last week before a mob of them stormed the Capitol, leaving five dead.
That would trigger a trial in the still Republican-controlled Senate, although it was unclear whether enough time or political appetite remained to expel Trump.
Democrats moved forward on an impeachment vote after an effort to persuade Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution to remove Trump was rejected by Pence on Tuesday evening.
Despite the letter, the Hous`e passed a resolution formally calling on Pence to act. The final vote was 223-205 in favor.
In his first public appearance since last Wednesday’s riot, Trump showed no remorse on Tuesday for his speech, in which he repeated his false claim that President-elect Joe Biden’s victory was illegitimate. Biden will be sworn in as president on Jan. 20.
At a meeting to set the rules for Wednesday’s impeachment vote, Democratic Representative David Cicilline told the House Rules Committee that the impeachment drive had the support of 217 lawmakers – enough to impeach Trump.
Cicilline, who helped craft the impeachment measure, said Trump “has had almost a week to do the right thing. He has refused to resign, he has failed to take responsibility, he has demonstrated no remorse.”
House Republicans who opposed the impeachment drive argued Democrats were going too far, as Trump was on the verge of leaving office.
The New York Times reported that the Republican majority leader of the U.S. Senate, Mitch McConnell, was said to be pleased about the Democratic impeachment push, suggesting Trump’s party was looking to move on from him after the attack on Congress.
McConnell believes the impeachment effort will make it easier to purge Trump from the party, the Times said.
Pelosi on Tuesday named nine impeachment “managers,” who would present the House’s case for impeachment during a Senate trial, but it remained unclear how swiftly such a trial would take place if the House votes to impeach.
McConnell has said no trial could begin until the chamber returns from its recess on Jan. 19.
But Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who is set to become the majority leader after two Democrats from Georgia are seated and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris is sworn in, told reporters the Senate could be recalled to handle the matter.
Democrats could also use an impeachment trial to push through a vote blocking Trump from running for office again.
Trump has said he plans to run again in 2024.