House Democrats plan to introduce an article of impeachment against President Trump as soon as Monday to begin the process of attempting to remove him from office following his supporters’ violence at the Capitol.
“It is the hope of Members that the President will immediately resign,” Pelosi said in a statement. “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.”
Reps. Raskin (D-Md.), David Cicilline (D-R.I.) and Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) have authored a single article of impeachment which is supported by a majority of the Democratic caucus. The article accuses Trump of “incitement of insurrection” and “willfully inciting violence against the government of the United States” when he made comments at the rally near the White House that “encouraged — and foreseeably resulted in — imminent lawless action at the Capitol.”
The article also says that Trump “threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power, and imperiled a coordinate branch of government. He thereby betrayed his trust as President, to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.”
A privileged resolution for impeachment, which Pelosi also mentioned in her statement, would allow the House to bypass the committee process and bring it directly to a vote.
Although Trump only has 12 days remaining in office, Democrats are concerned about his fitness and what danger he may cause in the next couple of weeks. As Rep. Cicilline told the Wall Street Journal in an interview, “This conduct is so grave and this president presents such a clear and present danger to our democracy, I don’t think you can simply say let’s just wait it out.”
And earlier in the day, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff “to discuss available precautions for preventing an unstable president from initiating military hostilities or accessing the launch codes” for nuclear war.
Pelosi has said that instead of impeachment, she would prefer Trump to resign or be removed via the 25th amendment, which allows for the vice president and a majority of the cabinet to vote to remove the president from office. But Pence is reportedly against invoking the 25th, although he has not publicly commented on the matter. If neither of those scenarios takes place, the speaker is preparing to take the impeachment route.
Still, it appears unlikely Democrats will succeed in their efforts to remove Trump, who is scheduled to leave office on January 20th, and the process could spill over into the beginning of the Biden administration. To convict, they will need a two-thirds majority in the Senate, which will require support from 14 Republicans.
If Trump is convicted, the Senate could then vote to prevent him from holding federal office again. A Senate conviction would also prevent Trump from continuing his grift of the federal government because he would not get some of the benefits usually given to former presidents, as Mother Jones’ Russ Choma pointed out. Those perks include a Secret Service detail (which Trump often uses to get reimbursed when forcing agents to stay in his hotels and resorts) in addition to a pension, health insurance access and office space.
This is a developing story.