A resolution urging US Vice President Mike Pence to start the Constitution's 25th Amendment removing President Donald Trump from office over the deadly Capitol attack advanced on Wednesday in a procedural vote in the House of Representatives.
The resolution calls on Pence "to immediately use his powers under section 4 of the 25th Amendment to convene and mobilize the principal officers of the executive departments in the Cabinet to declare what is obvious to a horrified nation: That the President is unable to successfully discharge the duties of his office."
It also asks Pence to "transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House notice that he will be immediately assuming the powers and duties of the office as Acting President."
Pence had sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi refusing to invoke the 25th Amendment.
He said: "I do not believe that such a course of action is in the best interest of our Nation or consistent with our Constitution. Last week, I did not yield to pressure to exert power beyond my constitutional authority to determine the outcome of the election, and I will not now yield to efforts in the House of Representatives to play political games at a time so serious in the life of our Nation."
"I urge you and every member of Congress to avoid actions that would further divide and inflame the passions of the moment. Work with us to lower the temperature and unite our country as we prepare to inaugurate President-elect Joe Biden as the next President of the United States."
Pelosi has already announced the names of the Democratic lawmakers who will serve as impeachment managers, responsible for presenting a case to the Senate in an impeachment trial.
Tonight, I have the solemn privilege of naming the Managers of the impeachment trial of Donald Trump.@RepRaskin@RepDianaDeGette@RepCicilline@JoaquinCastrotx@RepSwalwell@RepTedLieu@StaceyPlaskett@RepDean@RepJoeNegusehttps://t.co/6yMWMEnBTW— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) January 13, 2021
Already scheduled to leave office next week, Trump is on the verge of becoming the only president in history to be twice impeached. His incendiary rhetoric at a rally ahead of the Capitol uprising is now in the impeachment charge against him, even as the falsehoods he spread about election fraud are still being championed by some Republicans.
"The President of the United States summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack. Everything that followed was his doing. None of this would have happened without the President," Cheney said in a statement.
"The President could have immediately and forcefully intervened to stop the violence. He did not. There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution," she added.
Trump took no responsibility for his part in instigating the mob of supporters who stormed the Capitol building when lawmakers were addressing the certification of Joe Biden's Electoral College victory. The violence led to the deaths of five people.
Trump had encouraged his supporters to march on the Capitol. At a time when his supporters were clashing with Capitol police and security officers, who used tear gas and some even drew their guns point-blank, Trump praised his supporters and only told them on Twitter to "stay peaceful."
Hours after the mob of his supporters stormed the building, smashed windows, occupied offices, fought with police, and both Republican and Democratic lawmakers called on him to ask his supporters to deescalate the violence, Trump finally told his "very special" supporters to "go home" in a one-minute video he posted on Twitter.
Yet, in his first appearance in public since the Capitol siege and only eight days away from the end of his presidency, Trump said: "People thought that what I said was totally appropriate," in response to a question about personal responsibility regarding the January 6 attack on the US Capitol.
"They've analyzed my speech and my words and my final paragraph, my final sentence and everybody... thought it was totally appropriate," he said at Joint Base Andrews, before heading to Texas to sign his signature wall on the border with Mexico.
Trump went on to call preparations in Congress to impeach him "absolutely ridiculous."
He said the move to impeach him was causing "tremendous anger" and that it was a "continuation of the greatest witch hunt in the history of politics."