House Democrats were drafting new articles of impeachment against President Trump on Friday following a deadly riot at the Capitol two days earlier in a failed attempt to stop Congress from certifying Joe Biden's presidential victory.
Reps. David Cicilline of Rhode Island, Jamie Raskin of Maryland and Ted Lieu of California were taking the lead on an impeachment resolution targeting Trump's alleged efforts to incite the riot, Fox News has confirmed. The riot was a major security breach that forced lawmakers to evacuate to secure locations.
Rep. Ilhan Omar, of Minnesota, was also circulating articles of impeachment.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi discussed impeachment efforts Friday afternoon in an hours-long call with the Democratic caucus, calling the conversation "sad, moving and patriotic."
Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer of New York had pushed for Trump's immediate removal of office through the 25th Amendment, arguing it was too risky to keep Trump in power until Jan. 20, when Democrat Joe Biden is scheduled to be inaugurated.
President Donald Trump arrives to speak to supporters from The Ellipse near the White House on Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington, DC. (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
But if Vice President Mike Pence and the cabinet don't remove Trump, as the amendment would require, Democrats seemed to have broad support among their caucus for a second round of impeachment. (The president's forced removal before his term ends was appearing unlikely Friday.)
Pelosi said the House was preparing a speedy impeachment resolution and would pass Raskin's other legislation to allow Congress to oust a president from office using the 25th Amendment.
"It is the hope of Members that the President will immediately resign," Pelosi said in a statement Friday. "But if he does not, I have instructed the Rules Committee to be prepared to move forward with Congressman Jamie Raskin’s 25th Amendment legislation and a motion for impeachment. Accordingly, the House will preserve every option – including the 25th Amendment, a motion to impeach or a privileged resolution for impeachment."
Earlier Friday, Pelosi said she had spoken to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley about protecting the nuclear codes from what she described as an "unhinged president."
"[F]ollowing the President’s dangerous and seditious acts, Republicans in Congress need to ... call on Trump to depart his office – immediately," Pelosi wrote in a letter to her fellow Democrats. "If the President does not leave office imminently and willingly, the Congress will proceed with our action."
Cicilline's four-page impeachment resolution was expected to be introduced into the House on Monday as a privileged resolution, Fox News confirmed. The one article of impeachment is for "incitement of insurrection" and states that Trump engaged in high crimes and misdemeanors by "willfully inciting violence against the government of the United States."
UNITED STATES - JANUARY 6: Trump supporters stand on the U.S. Capitol Police armored vehicle as others take over the steps of the Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, as the Congress works to certify the electoral college votes. (Photo By Bill Clark/C
The resolution also calls out Trump for his Jan. 2 phone call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger where he urged the election official to "find" enough votes to overturn Biden's win in the state -- and appeared to issue subtle threats if Raffensperger failed to do so.
Trump's actions warrant removal from office and "disqualification" to run ever again, the impeachment resolution states.
It was unclear when or if this impeachment resolution would get a vote.
A few Republicans, including Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska, have expressed an openness to Trump's removal from office after his repeated false claims that he won the presidential election in a landslide and urging his supporters to march to the Capitol as Congress was in the middle of certifying Biden's electoral victory.
As a result of the violence, at least five people died, including a U.S. Capitol Police officer.
House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said a second impeachment would further fracture the country.
"Impeaching the President with just 12 days left in his term will only divide our country more," McCarthy said Friday in a statement. "I have reached out to President-elect Biden today and plan to speak to him about how we must work together to lower the temperature and unite the country to solve America’s challenges."
McCarthy was one of 138 House Republicans who voted to toss out Pennyslvania's electoral college votes early Thursday morning when the congressional count resumed after the riot. Eventually, the election was certified by the Joint Session of Congress with Biden winning 306 electoral votes Trump's 232.
Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, blasted McCarthy as having "no guts" to stand up to Trump even after the desecration of the Capitol and the death of Officer Brian Sicknick. Ryan supports Trump's removal from office.
"He [McCarthy] has his lips firmly attached to President Trump's rear end," Ryan said Friday. "And he won’t do anything that will offend him even if the president is promoting insurrection and supporting domestic terrorists who just killed a United States Capitol Police officer."
If a second impeachment is successful, Trump would be the first president doubly impeached.
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