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House votes to ask Pence to remove Trump from office; impeachment next

Updated January 12, 2021 - 8:48 pm

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Tuesday he did nothing to incite the Jan. 6 riot resulting in the deadly storming of the Capitol, and he warned lawmakers not to impeach him for a second time before his term ends.

But House lawmakers voted 223-205 Tuesday night on a resolution requesting Vice President Mike Pence invoke the 25th Amendment to remove the president.

Pence has signaled his reluctance to invoke Article 4 of the 25th Amendment, which would allow the vice president and a majority of the president’s Cabinet to remove Trump from office, at least temporarily, by declaring he is unfit for the job.

Speaking in Texas while visiting the border wall, Trump said: “The 25th Amendment is of zero risk to me but will come back to haunt Joe Biden and the Biden administration.”

The comment was a reference to the age of President-elect Biden, who is 78 years old.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., meanwhile, said the Tuesday vote would give the Cabinet 24 hours to remove the president before the House votes to impeach Trump by charging he incited an insurrection.

Impeachment on the table

The single article of impeachment said Trump incited the violence by telling supporters assembled in Washington on Jan. 6 that “if you don’t fight like hell you are not going to have a country anymore.”

The impeachment resolution also said Trump continued to claim falsehoods that he won the election and was the victim of massive fraud. He also tried to coerce the Georgia secretary of state, a Republican, to “find” the votes to overturn Biden’s victory in that state. The GOP official refused to comply.

“The president represents an imminent threat to our Constitution, our country and the American people, and he must be removed from office immediately,” Pelosi said.

House Democrats were moving quickly to impeach the president, but it remained unknown when the impeachment would be sent to the Senate for a trial and vote on conviction.

All three Nevada Democrats in the House, Dina Titus, Susie Lee and Steven Horsford, support efforts to have the president removed and said they would vote for impeachment.

“Apologize to the American people, admit your actions were wrong, & resign,” Lee said on Twitter, in response to Trump’s comments.

High-ranking defection

The No. 3 GOP leader in the House, Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., said she would vote to impeach Trump, saying the president “summoned the mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame on this attack.”

That came after news that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy would not lobby members of the GOP to vote against a Trump impeachment. When Trump was impeached in 2019, the Republican leader encouraged his members to support the president.

Republican Rep. Mark Amodei of Nevada has condemned the violence of last week as shameful but, citing the president’s end of term in a week, said he would not vote for impeachment.

Trump showed no remorse Tuesday and called the House effort to impeach him “absolutely ridiculous.”

And the president, speaking to reporters before traveling, rejected any blame for the Jan. 6 riot. He said his comments to a rally were “totally appropriate.”

Lawmakers on edge

Congressional Democrats and Republicans blamed Trump for spurring the crowd to march on the Capitol, where lawmakers were certifying the Electoral College vote from states and the victory for Biden.

And lawmakers remain on edge after law enforcement warned that more attacks could be planned before and during the inauguration.

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said Trump’s words before that attack on the Capitol and his actions afterward showed the president bears responsibility for what happened on Jan. 6. And he should try to to quell any further riotous acts.

“I call on President Trump to address the nation and explicitly urge his supporters to remain peaceful and refrain from violence,” Portman said in a statement released by his office.

The House impeached Trump in 2019 on charges of abuse of office and obstruction of Congress involving the investigation into Russian ties to the Trump campaign in the 2016 election. The Senate, following a trial, acquitted Trump on both charges.

Biden has left to Congress the process of this impeachment, but has told lawmakers he wants the House and Senate prepared to act on his agenda when he takes office Jan. 20.

Contact Gary Martin at gmartin@reviewjournal.com. Follow @garymartindc on Twitter.

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