President Trump is facing a new threat with less than two weeks left in his presidency as House Democrats inch closer to impeaching him for a second time.
Lawmakers have signaled their division in the aftermath of Wednesday’s riot, which saw Trump supporters storm the Capitol — breaking windows, ransacking offices, and destroying artifacts and other parts of the historic building in the process.
Democrats and GOP lawmakers alike have placed responsibility for the attacks on Trump, who at a rally earlier in the day urged his supporters to march to the Capitol while repeating his disputed claims of a “stolen” election.
Trump faced further condemnation for social media posts he made during the riot, including one in which he asked his supporters to retreat while simultaneously praising the mob, calling them "very special people" and saying that he loved them.
Twitter has since permanently suspended Trump’s account, and both Facebook and Snapchat also issued indefinite suspensions for Trump on their platforms.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Friday said that if Trump does not resign over his role in inciting the riot, which results in five deaths, she has directed the House Rules Committee to quickly take up a motion to impeach Trump as well as legislation to create a commission that can declare that the president is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.”
This came after Pelosi earlier this week suggested that House lawmakers would move to impeach Trump if Vice President Pence and other Cabinet officials did not remove the president by invoking the 25th Amendment.
Pence reportedly opposes using the 1967 amendment, which ensures that the government remains in operation should a sitting president be deemed unfit to perform essential duties.
A trio of Democratic lawmakers — Reps. David Cicilline (R.I.), Ted Lieu (Calif.) and Jamie Raskin (Md.) — is preparing to introduce new articles of impeachment against Trump as soon as Monday’s pro forma session. The articles would address both Trump’s role in the Capitol siege and his months-long refusal to accept his election defeat.
Trump for the first time acknowledged his loss in taped remarks Thursday, saying “a new administration will be inaugurated on Jan. 20” and his “focus now turns to ensuring a smooth orderly and seamless transition of power.”
Trump, however, in one of his final tweets before he was banned from Twitter, announced he would not be attending President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, breaking with more than a century of tradition.
With the Jan. 20 inauguration approaching, many have questioned what a Trump impeachment trial would look like with a new president already in the Oval Office.
Outgoing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Friday circulated a memo to his colleagues outlining the procedure for holding another impeachment trial for Trump.
The document, which was first reported by The Washington Post, lays out how the Senate would proceed if the House approves articles of impeachment and transmits them to the upper chamber before or by Jan. 19, when senators are scheduled to resume regular business after the January recess.
McConnell says the most likely scenario is for the Senate to receive a message from the lower chamber notifying it of the impeachment action on Jan. 19. That would then give the Senate the option of ordering the House managers to present those articles on the same day.
Senate Impeachment Rules require that at 1 p.m. the day after the managers exhibit the articles, the Senate “must proceed to their consideration,” the memo states.
As a result, the Senate trial would not begin until one hour after Biden takes the oath of office.
In the White House’s first public remarks on a potential impeachment, spokesperson Judd Deere said in a statement Friday that, “a politically motivated impeachment against a President with 12 days remaining in his term will only serve to further divide our great country.”
Republican lawmakers have also warned against an impeachment so close to Inauguration Day, with Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) telling The Hill on Friday that “it's more important to focus on healing and doing a peaceful transition of power as the president himself has conceded where we are and impeachment just inflames those that believe this election has been stolen.”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) also said Friday that he believes “impeaching the President with just 12 days left in his term will only divide our country more.”
Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) likewise dismissed impeachment calls, arguing “it's a ridiculous discussion to have,” and that he has “enough decisions to make about things that can happen rather than to spend time on things that can't happen.”