House Democrats on Monday introduced an impeachment article against Donald Trump for the second time, laying an unprecedented charge against the U.S. president of inciting insurgency.
The move came as Democratic lawmakers continued their last-minute efforts to force Mr. Trump out of the White House before his term expires following an attack on the U.S. Capitol last week by a crowd of his. supporters.
The Democratic-controlled House attempted on Monday to pass a separate resolution urging Mr Pence to summon the cabinet and activate the 25th Amendment, which gives them the power to strip the president of his power over his role at the siege of the last week on Capitol Hill.
The resolution, drafted by Democrat Jamie Raskin of Maryland, says the president “has voluntarily made statements about this. . . encouraged. . . anarchic action at the Capitol ”. At least five people died in the melee, including a Capitol Hill policeman. A second officer died by suicide over the weekend.
Because Republican lawmakers opposed the text, it did not receive unanimous consent and will be debated and most likely passed on Tuesday.
Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic House Speaker, told House members on Sunday that the lower house of Congress would impeach Mr. Trump if Mr. Pence does not respond to the resolution within 24 hours.
“In protecting our Constitution and our democracy, we will act urgently, as this president poses an imminent threat to both,” Ms. Pelosi wrote in a letter to House Democrats. “As the days go by, the horror of this president’s continued assault on our democracy intensifies, as does the need for immediate action.”
Ms Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, the Democratic Leader in the Senate, have repeatedly urged Vice President Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to the US Constitution if Mr Trump does not resign.
Despite reports that Mr. Pence is furious at Mr. Trump’s lack of intervention in the riots – who interrupted the electoral college vote count to certify that Joe Biden will be the 46th U.S. president – the vice president has so far shown no support for the use of the 25th Amendment.
Mr. Trump, who was banned Twitter and numerous other social media platforms at the end of last week, showed no sign of resigning until Mr. Biden’s inauguration on Jan.20. He is expected to make a trip to the US-Mexico border on Tuesday to brag about his immigration record.
Mr Trump was impeached at the end of 2019, on two counts – abuse of power and obstruction of Congress – related to his efforts to pressure the Ukrainian president to dig up dirt on Mr Biden and his son, Hunter Biden. He was acquitted after a trial in the Senate. Mitt Romney, the Utah senator and former presidential candidate, was the only Republican to vote to condemn the president.
While Mr. Trump is likely to be dismissed a second time in the Democratic-controlled House, two-thirds of the Senate are expected to vote to convict in order to remove him from office.
While a handful of Republican senators have contempt expressed beyond the president’s actions, more than a dozen are expected to sign to oust Mr. Trump.
Democrats won two hotly contested Senate second rounds in Georgia last week, staging for the upper house of Congress to be split 50-50, with Vice President Kamala Harris in a position to vote for a decisive start. Ms Harris will be sworn in on Jan.20 with Mr Biden.