The number of Republican lawmakers in the House who support impeaching President Donald Trump is growing, which could make the move just seven days before the president leaves office a bipartisan effort.
House Republican Conference Chairman Liz Cheney of Wyoming, along with Reps. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, John Katko of New York, and Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington “all issued statements on Tuesday saying the president’s rhetoric the day of the riot met the threshold of an impeachable offense,” The Hill reports.
“The President of the United States summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack,” Cheney said. “Everything that followed was his doing. None of this would have happened without the President. The President could have immediately and forcefully intervened to stop the violence. He did not. There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.”
Kinzinger said in his statement that Trump “used his position in the Executive to attack the Legislative. So in assessing the articles of impeachment brought before the House, I must consider: if these actions—the Article II branch inciting a deadly insurrection against the Article I branch—are not worthy of impeachment, then what is an impeachable offense? I will vote in favor of impeachment.”
“It cannot be ignored that President Trump encouraged this insurrection – both on social media ahead of January 6th, and in his speech that day,” said Katko, the co-chairman of the Tuesday Group, a caucus of moderate Republican House members. “By deliberately promoting baseless theories suggesting the election was somehow stolen, the president created a combustible environment of misinformation, disenfranchisement, and division. When this manifested in violent acts on January 6th, he refused to promptly and forcefully call it off, putting countless lives in danger.”
And Beutler said in her statement: “The President’s offenses, in my reading of the Constitution, were impeachable based on the indisputable evidence we already have. I understand the argument that the best course is not to further inflame the country or alienate Republican voters. But I am also a Republican voter. I believe in our Constitution, individual liberty, free markets, charity, life, justice, peace and this exceptional country. I see that my own party will be best served when those among us choose truth.”
While the House on Tuesday called for Vice President Mike Pence to remove Trump from office via the 25th Amendment, which says a president can be removed if he “is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office,” Pence rejected the notion, leading to the second impeachment of Trump. Last time, he was acquitted by the Senate.
Before Wednesday’s riot at the Capitol, which left a protester and a police officer dead, Trump told a crowd of thousands of supporters gathered on the National Mall: “We’re going to walk down to the Capitol, and we’re going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women, and we’re probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them, because you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength, and you have to be strong.”
The House has already begun to debate the rules governing the impeachment and will take two procedural votes. Then two hours of debate on impeachment will occur before an afternoon vote on the single article, which charges Trump “engaged in high Crimes and Misdemeanors by inciting violence against the Government of the United States.”
The House, controlled by Democrats, needs only a simple majority to impeach Trump. But in the Senate, two-thirds of lawmakers, or 67, are needed to convict.