US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said that proceeding with a Senate impeachment trial against former President Donald Trump would not undermine President Joe Biden’s calls for “unity.”
“The point is, the President of the United States has committed an act of incitement to insurgency,” Pelosi told reporters Thursday on Capitol Hill, a day after Biden was sworn in to replace Trump.
“I don’t think it’s very unifying to say, ‘Oh, let’s forget that and move on.’ This is not how you unite, ”Pelosi said, adding that she was unwilling to give Trump a“ get out of jail free ”card just because he left office.
Thousands of Trump supporters gathered in Washington on Jan.6 to hear the then president speak at a rally, before marching on the U.S. Capitol where Congress voted to validate Biden’s election victory.
Protesters stormed police barricades and security checkpoints to overrun the House and Senate. Five people died, including a woman shot dead by police and a policeman beaten by mobs.
Many lawmakers are furious at Trump’s role in the incident, and the House voted 232 to 197 on January 13 to remove the former president for inciting insurgency.
“He rallied the troops. He urged them to fight like hell. He sent them on their way to the Capitol. He invoked anarchy. He showed a way to the Capitol. And anarchy has taken place, ”Pelosi said.
The Speaker of the House has given no timeline for when a Senate trial could take place, although conversations continue between House and Senate leaders on when to move forward.
“It will be soon,” Pelosi said.
Some Senate Republicans warn that pursuing a trial of the House impeachment charge against Trump now that he has left office would be divisive and counterproductive for Biden.
They warn it would hurt Biden’s ability to gain the Republican support he needs to advance his legislative agenda and secure confirmation of his U.S. Cabinet appointments.
The second indictment “is a political exercise” that “will ultimately destroy the presidency,” Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican, told Fox News on Wednesday.
Graham, who led the Senate Republicans’ early fight against Trump’s impeachment, said he disagreed with Republican Leader Mitch McConnell’s assessment that Trump provoked a crowd.
“Yeah, I don’t agree with that,” Graham said. “It would be a crime to provoke violence. Show me the clip where he did that, ”Graham said.
McConnell “gives some legitimacy to this impeachment process which I think is wrong,” Graham said.
“They removed the Speaker of the House within 24 hours without a lawyer and without witnesses. Are we going to become as a country? I hope not, ”he said.
Some lawmakers have suggested that a Senate trial could be postponed for Biden’s first 100 days in the White House. Others suggested that a trial could be dealt with quickly as the Senate also deals with legislative work.
Discussions are underway in the Senate between McConnell and new Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on how to proceed with the impeachment, Senator Amy Klobuchar told reporters on Capitol Hill on Thursday.
McConnell “signaled a willingness” to allow the trial to go ahead and the Senate could “juggle” both the trial and its legislative work, Klobuchar said.
“The American people do it every day. They juggle their toddlers on their knees and their laptops on their desks, ”Klobuchar said. “Why can’t we do it?”
In the House, Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy is trying to heal wounds within the Republican impeachment vote caucus.
McCarthy said Thursday there should be room for differing views among Republicans after 10 members of his caucus joined Democrats in voting to impeach Trump on January 13.
McCarthy said he still supported Republican Conference President Liz Cheney as his party leader, even though she voted for impeachment.