The US House pressed forward toward impeaching President Donald Trump for the deadly Capitol attack, taking time only to try to persuade his vice president to push him out first. Trump showed no remorse, blaming impeachment for the “tremendous anger” in America.
Already scheduled to leave office next week, Trump is on the verge of becoming the only president in history to be twice impeached. His incendiary rhetoric at a rally ahead of the Capitol uprising is now in the impeachment charge against him, even as the falsehoods he spread about election fraud are still being championed by some Republicans.
As lawmakers reconvened at the Capitol for the first time on Tuesday since the bloody siege, they were also bracing for more violence ahead of Democratic President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, January 20.
“All of us have to do some soul searching,” said Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., during a House rules debate, pleading for a change of heart among colleagues still backing Trump.
Two Republicans, Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and John Katko of New York, became the first to announce they would vote to impeach Trump.
“To allow the president of the United States to incite this attack without consequence is a direct threat to the future of our democracy,” Katko said in a statement.
Trump, meanwhile, warned the lawmakers off impeachment and suggested it was the drive to oust him that was dividing the country.
“To continue on this path, I think it’s causing tremendous danger to our country, and it’s causing tremendous anger,” Trump said.
In his first remarks to reporters since last week’s violence, the outgoing president offered no condolences for those dead or injured, only saying, “I want no violence.” Impeachment ahead, the House was first pressing Vice President Mike Pence and the Cabinet to remove Trump more quickly and surely, warning he is a threat to democracy in the few remaining days of his presidency.
The House was expected to approve a resolution calling on Pence and the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment to the Constitution to declare the president unable to serve. Pence, who had a “good meeting” with Trump on Monday, their first since the vice president was among those sheltering from the attack, was not expected to take any such action.
After that, the House would move swiftly to impeachment on Wednesday.
Trump faces a single charge — “incitement of insurrection” — in the impeachment resolution after the most serious and deadly domestic incursion at the Capitol in the nation’s history.
The impeachment legislation also details Trump’s pressure on state officials in Georgia to “find” him more votes, as well as his White House rally ahead of the Capitol siege, in which he encouraged thousands of supporters last Wednesday to “fight like hell” and march to the building.
The mob overpowered police, broke through security lines and windows and rampaged through the Capitol, forcing lawmakers to scatter as they were finalising Biden’s victory over Trump in the Electoral College. (AP)