Speaker of the United States Congress, Nancy Pelosi, and other democrats have initiated moves to remove President Donald Trump from office less than 10 days to the end of his tenure.
The Congress, yesterday, moved on two fronts to try to force Trump out of office, mounting pressure on Vice President, Mike Pence, to strip him of presidential powers and thereafter begin impeachment proceedings against him for inciting a mob that violently attacked the Capitol, seat of government in the United States.
In a letter to her colleagues, Pelosi said the House would move forward on Monday with a resolution calling on Vice President, Pence, and the cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment and wrest the powers of the presidency. She called on Pence to respond “within 24 hours” and indicated she expected a Tuesday vote on the resolution.
The House, she said, would commence impeachment proceedings as quickly as possible. Some leading Democrats have suggested they could press forward on a remarkably quick timetable, charging Trump with “high crimes and misdemeanours.”
According to Pelosi, Congress will act with urgency to protect the constitution and democracy, alleging that Trump represents an imminent threat to both legacies.
“As the days go by, the horror of the on-going assault on our democracy perpetrated by this president is intensified and so is the immediate need for action,” she wrote. Pelosi’s actions effectively gave Pence, who is said to be opposed to the idea, an ultimatum to use his power under the constitution to force Mr. Trump out by declaring him unable to discharge his duties, or make him the first president in American history to be impeached twice.
However, Trump has continued to behave as if the invasion of the Capitol never happened at all, even though public opinion around Washington was shifting decisively against him.
More than 210 of the 222 Democrats in the House – nearly a majority – had already signed on to an impeachment resolution by Sunday afternoon, registering support for a measure that asserted that Mr. Trump would “remain a threat to national security, democracy and the constitution” if he was not removed in the final 10 days of his term.
The New York Times quotes a second Republican senator, Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania, as saying he (Trump) should resign immediately. Toomey’s position was in line with that of Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, but a Republican House member hinted that he could vote to impeach, even as he cautioned that it could backfire and further galvanize Mr. Trump’s supporters.
With a few Democrats hopeful Pence would act, Representative James E. Clyburn of South Carolina, the party’s No. 3, said the House could vote to impeach Trump by Wednesday, one week before Inauguration Day.
Lawmakers were put on notice to return to Washington and their leaders consulted with the Federal Air Marshal Service and police on how to safely move them back into a Capitol that was ransacked in a shocking security failure less than a week ago.
“If we are the people’s House, let’s do the people’s work and let’s vote to impeach this president. The Senate will decide later what to do with that – an impeachment,” Clyburn said.
Clyburn argued in favour of delaying the start of any Senate trial for several months to allow Presidentelect, Joseph R. Biden Jr. to take office without the cloud of an all-consuming impeachment drama. It would be nearly impossible to start a trial before January 20 and delaying it further would allow the House to deliver a stinging indictment of the president without impeding Mr. Biden’s ability to form a cabinet and confront the spiralling coronavirus crisis.
“Let’s give Presidentelect Biden the 100 days he needs to get his agenda off and running,” Clyburn, an influential ally of Mr. Biden, said in another interview on CNN.
The uncertainty underscored how little precedent those seeking to contain the president had to guide them. No president has been impeached in the final days of his term or with the prospect of a trial after he leaves office – and certainly not just days after lawmakers themselves were attacked. A two-thirds majority is needed to convict and remove a president in the Senate.
But if he were found guilty, a simple majority of the Senate could then bar Mr. Trump from holding office in the future. At the White House, the New York Times reports, Trump has remained out of sight for a fourth straight day and made no public comment on either the assault on the Capitol or the brewing impeachment threat. The White House announced instead that he would travel on Tuesday to Alamo, Texas, to promote his border wall as part of a series of activities highlighting what he sees as the achievements of the last four years.