The United States House of Representatives is poised to impeach President Donald Trump for a historic second time after Democrats charged him with “incitement of insurrection” over last Wednesday’s assault on the Congress.
The single article of impeachment charges him with high Crimes and Misdemeanors by inciting violence against the Government of the United States over the false claims about election fraud leading up to the insurrection.
The move in the House follows a vote on Tuesday formally calling on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove the sitting President – something Pence has since declined to do.
Sherwin Bryce-Pease reports:
‘Move to impeach’
Democrats warned Pence that were he to fail to take action to remove the President, that they would immediately move to impeach – a process that is already under way with debate on the House floor.
Democratic House Majority Leader, Steny Hoyer, says, “I’ve served with Ronald Reagan, with George H.W. Bush and George Bush. I have respect for all of those presidents. They care about our country, they honoured our constitution and they executed the duties of their office consistent with the constitution and laws of our country. That is not true of this president and therefore, he ought to be removed and we have that opportunity to do so. Is there little time left? Yes! But it is never too late to do the right thing.”
Formally charging the President appears inevitable as Democrats hold the majority in the House, but in a departure from the first impeachment vote in 2019 several GOP members, led by the Number three Republican Liz Cheney, have said they would vote to impeach, arguing in a statement that there has never been a greater betrayal by the president of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.
But not all Republicans agree as Republican Deputy Minority Whip Tom Cole explains, “Instead of moving forward as a unifying force, the majority in the House is choosing to divide us further, with only a week to go in his term.
“The majority is asking us to consider a resolution impeaching President Trump and they do so knowing full well that even if the House passes this resolution the Senate will not be able to begin considering these charges until after President Trump’s term ends. Mr Speaker, I can think of no action the House can take that’s more likely to divide the American people.”
True to form, President Trump has rejected any responsibility for inciting the violence.
REPORTER: What is your role in what happened at the Capitol? What is your personal responsibility?
TRUMP: So, if you read my speech and many people have done it and I’ve seen it both in the papers and in the media, on television, it’s been analyzed and people thought that what I said was totally appropriate.
National Guard troops now line the interior of the US Capitol building – a venue that will host President-Elect Joe Biden’s inauguration in exactly one week with the FBI warning of planned armed protests in all 50 State capitals and Washington DC as investigations into last week’s attack continue.
Acting US Attorney for Washington D.C., Michael Sherwin, says, “So of those 170 cases that have already been open – and I anticipate that’s going to grow to the hundreds in the next coming weeks – we’ve already charged over 70 cases again. That number, I suspect, is going to grow into the hundreds. What the public isn’t familiar with is that the FBI, working with the US Attorney’s offices across the country, and the crux of those being in DC, we’re looking at significant felony cases tied to sedition and conspiracy.”
The four-page impeachment resolution relies heavily on the president’s own words leading up to those horrific scenes on Capitol Hill last week after he encouraged his supporters to ‘fight like hell’ vowing never to concede an election that was at that very moment being affirmed by the legislative branch.
The Senate is unlikely to take up the article of impeachment immediately once it has passed the house. That could happen even after Joe Biden becomes President, and will require a two-thirds majority of the 100-member chamber to convict.
SABC News Correspondent Sherwin Bryce-Peace gives an update: