Following last week's coup attempt at the U.S. Capitol, Democrats are looking to impeach Trump for the second time

By Virginia Chamlee
January 11, 2021 11:38 AM
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House Democrats have formally introduced one article of impeachment against President Donald Trump, charging him with "incitement of insurrection" following last week's attempted coup on the Capitol by a mob of his supporters.

The resolution was introduced Monday morning, as the House opened for legislative business, and is expected to be voted on later this week. 

The full document, obtained by CNN, cites the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which states that any person who has "engaged in insurrection or rebellion against" the United States be barred from holding office.

Republican critics have said impeachment could cause the president to double down on his violent rhetoric, or further stoke division in the country.

One of the authors of the article filed Monday defended the case for impeachment in a New York Times editorial published Monday morning.

"This impeachment charge is meant to defend the integrity of the republic," Rhode Island Democrat David Cicilline wrote. "Both Democratic and Republican members of Congress must attend to the duties of their oath. Failing to act would set an irresponsibly dangerous precedent for future presidents who are about to leave office."

Cicilline continued: "Further, there can be no healing of the divisions in our country without justice for the man most responsible for this horrific insurrection. The president must be held accountable."

As Cicilline notes in his editorial, were Trump to be impeached and convicted by the Senate, he would be removed from office and prohibited from ever serving in federal office again.

A U.S. president has never been removed from office via impeachment. Both Presidents Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton were impeached while in office, but both were later acquitted in the Senate. Following the Watergate scandal, President Richard Nixon resigned before he could be impeached and face trial.

Trump was previously impeached by the House in 2019 on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress in connection with his Ukraine scandal.

In an interview with 60 Minutes that aired Sunday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi slammed Trump, 74, for his role in inciting the violence at the U.S. Capitol last week, which led to the deaths of at least five people.

"Sadly, the person who is running the Executive Branch is a deranged, unhinged, dangerous president of the United States, and only a number of days until we can be protected from him," Pelosi, 80, said. "But he has done something so serious that there should be prosecution against him."

On Sunday, Pelosi said the House would proceed with bringing its impeachment resolution to the floor this week unless Vice President Mike Pence were to move toward invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office.

On Monday morning, House Democrats introduced a measure calling on Pence and the Cabinet to remove Trump under the 25th Amendment. That measure failed to receive unanimous consent and is expected to go to the House floor for a vote on Tuesday.

Pence has not made any public comments regarding invoking the 25th Amendment, but has denounced the violence on the Capitol.

As the pro-Trump gathering began to turn violent last Wednesday, the president turned on his own VP for refusing to disrupt Congress' certification of an election that Trump lost.

In a tweet that has since been removed from Twitter (which permanently suspended Trump from its platform over the weekend) Trump said Pence "didn't have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our country and our Constitution, giving states a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify."

Not only was Trump's tweet full of inaccuracies (the election was not fraudulent and all of the Trump campaign's attempts to show it was have failed), it directed ire toward one of Trump's most loyal allies, who had to be evacuated to safety as the violent mob breached the Capitol.

The Trump supporters who descended on the Capitol could be heard chanting "Hang Mike Pence" in footage from the riots.