Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., conducts a news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center on Friday, June 26, 2020.
Tom Williams | CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images
The House will move closer Monday to impeaching President Donald Trump an unprecedented second time, this time for inciting his supporters who invaded the U.S. Capitol during Congress’ electoral vote count last week.
Democrats plan to introduce an article of impeachment Monday that charges Trump with high crimes and misdemeanors for whipping up an insurrection and disrupting the peaceful transfer of power. The three lawmakers leading the effort — Reps. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., David Cicilline, D-R.I., and Ted Lieu, D-Calif. — say 210 House members have co-sponsored the measure.
It puts them just shy of the 218-vote majority needed to impeach Trump in the House, though the number could end up lower due to vacancies and absences. Democrats hold 222 seats.
In a letter to Democrats on Sunday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also said her party would attempt to pass Raskin’s resolution calling on Vice President Mike Pence and the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office. Democrats will try to approve the measure unanimously during Monday’s 11 a.m. ET pro forma session, but will bring it to a full vote Tuesday if they cannot, Pelosi said.
“In protecting our Constitution and our Democracy, we will act with urgency, because this President represents an imminent threat to both,” she wrote. “As the days go by, the horror of the ongoing assault on our democracy perpetrated by this President is intensified and so is the immediate need for action.”
The House will likely vote to impeach Trump by later this week, only a few days before President-elect Joe Biden will take office on Jan. 20. Democrats say taking no action against Trump before then raises the threat of more violence and lets the president off unscathed for spurring a mob that stormed the Capitol, killed a police officer and threatened the lives of Pence and lawmakers.
Trump spoke to his supporters in Washington D.C. shortly before the Capitol siege and repeated lies that widespread fraud cost him the November election. On the day of the vote tally, he falsely claimed Pence had the power to stop the vote count himself and send the process back to states.
The Senate likely will not have time to convict Trump and remove him before the president leaves office. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said in a memo that the chamber would not receive impeachment articles earlier than Jan. 19, according to NBC News.
House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., told CNN on Sunday that the House may delay sending articles to the Senate until after Biden’s first 100 days in office. He worries the Senate spending time on a trial in the early days of the administration would hamper Biden’s early agenda, which would include confirmation of Cabinet members and coronavirus relief legislation.
The White House and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., have argued impeachment would divide the country. McCarthy, who objected to counting Biden’s valid and certified electoral wins in Arizona and Pennsylvania even after the mob stormed the Capitol, said he reached out to Biden about uniting the country.
Supporters of impeachment have said moving on without holding Trump accountable for the attack on the democratic process will make further insurrection more likely.
By the time the Senate votes on impeachment, the chamber could be split 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans. While the chamber could not remove Trump from office at that point, it could prevent him from becoming president again if he tried to run in 2024.
If all Democrats vote to convict Trump, 17 Republicans would have to join them to meet the needed two-thirds threshold. It is unclear now if Democrats can muster that much GOP support.
Two Senate Republicans, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, have called on Trump to resign. Another, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, said he would “consider” any impeachment articles the House sent to the Senate.
Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, was the only GOP senator to vote to remove Trump from office last year.