Lawmakers called back to D.C. to vote on Trump's impeachment, removal under 25th Amendment

by 24USATVJan. 12, 2021, 3 a.m. 23
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WASHINGTON — House Democrats plan to vote on a measure calling on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment against President Donald Trump and on an article of impeachment in the next two days.

Democrats introduced the impeachment article Monday charging Trump with "incitement of insurrection" in urging his supporters to march on the U.S. Capitol last week , as well as a resolution that calls on Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to the Constitution to remove him from office before Jan. 20.

The House will vote on the 25th Amendment measure as early as Tuesday and on the article of impeachment Wednesday — one week to the day after the deadly mayhem that has shaken Washington to the core and a week before the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.

The impeachment measure, which has more than 200 Democratic co-sponsors, says Trump "gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of government. He threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power, and imperiled a coequal branch of government. He thereby betrayed his trust as president, to the manifest injury of the people of the United States."

Members announced the article and other resolutions during a brief House session at 11 a.m. ET.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., tried to pass a resolution prepared by Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., that calls on Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment. Hoyer needed unanimous consent to pass the measure, but Rep. Alex Mooney, R-W.Va., blocked it. Democrats will now hold a floor vote on the measure Tuesday night.

"We are calling on the vice president to respond within 24 hours" of passage, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Sunday in a letter to Democrats announcing plans to introduce the 25th Amendment measure, added that Democrats would pursue impeachment legislation next.

Sources said Pence is unlikely to sign onto any push to invoke the 25th Amendment. "I don't think that's an option," one said.

The "incitement of insurrection" article of impeachment was then introduced by Raskin and Reps. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., and David Cicilline, D-R.I. The measure also says Trump has "demonstrated that he will remain a threat to national security, democracy and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office, and has acted in a manner grossly incompatible with self-governance and the rule of law."

"President Trump thus warrants impeachment and trial, removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States," the resolution says.

It also cites Trump's Jan. 2 phone call urging Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to "find" enough votes to overturn the state's election results as part of his effort "to subvert and obstruct the certification of the results of the 2020 presidential election."

Raskin, Lieu and Cicilline said in a statement: "We cannot allow this unprecedented provocation to go unanswered. Everyone involved in this assault must be held accountable, beginning with the man most responsible for it — President Donald Trump. We cannot begin to heal the soul of this country without first delivering swift justice to all its enemies — foreign and domestic."

Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., said she filed two articles of impeachment related to Wednesday's attack and Trump's call to Raffensperger.

Freshman Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., also introduced a resolution "to expel members who voted to overturn the election and incited a white supremacist coup that has left people dead," she said in a tweet Sunday. "They have violated the 14th Amendment."

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, Washington, D.C.'s Democratic nonvoting delegate in the House, also prepared a resolution that would censure Trump.

Hoyer's office said the House would consider articles of impeachment Wednesday morning.

Pelosi and other House Democratic leaders have not explicitly said which articles of impeachment the House will vote on. Democrats have overwhelmingly voiced support for the effort and for fast-tracking it in Trump's final days in office.

Hoyer said that he is not in favor of delaying sending the articles of impeachment to the Senate but rather that he wants them sent immediately.

According to a memo circulated by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., if the House impeaches Trump this week, the earliest the Senate could take up the articles would be Jan. 19, unless all 100 senators agree to come back early.

But Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, is exploring a possible workaround — using the authority granted to the two Senate leaders in 2004 to reconvene the Senate in times of emergency, a senior Democratic aide said. That would allow for a potential impeachment trial to begin immediately after articles of impeachment are sent.

The move would still require McConnell's consent to proceed, as both the majority and minority leaders would need to sign off on it.

House Majority Whip Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., said Sunday on CNN that the House could delay sending the articles of impeachment to the Senate until after Biden's first 100 days in office, citing concerns that a trial could slow Biden's agenda.

Biden suggested Monday that there was another way forward. He told reporters in Delaware that he had spoken to House and Senate Democrats about the possibility that the trial would take half of the congressional day, allowing work to proceed on his agenda at the same time.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a top Trump ally, tweeted that he was "disappointed to hear the House is proceeding with a second impeachment given that there are only nine days left in a Trump presidency."

"It is past time for all of us to try to heal our country and move forward," Graham said, offering no alternative to hold Trump accountable.

Trump would be the first president to be impeached twice. In a Senate trial, he would not have the same legal team that helped him win acquittal on charges of abuse of power and obstructing Congress last year.

Jay Sekulow, who led Trump's legal battle against the special counsel investigation and the impeachment trial last year, is not involved in any legal advice for Trump at this time, people close to Sekulow said. White House counsel Pat Cipollone and lawyer Jane Raskin, who previously defended Trump during impeachment, are expected to be a part of any legal team.

Lawyer Alan Dershowitz, who was reported to have expressed interest in defending Trump again, said he has not been in contact with Trump or "anybody who would be in a position of authority," and he said he doubted that there would be time for a trial given the limited window before Biden takes office and Democrats take control of the Senate.

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