Congressional Democrats Seek to Remove Trump from Office

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January 11, 2021

Members of the House of Representatives moved ahead with plans to attempt to hold President Trump to account for his role in the violence that overwhelmed the U.S. Capitol on January 6.

Storming the Capitol

Three lawmakers–Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), and Jamie Raskin (D-Md.)–introduced an article of impeachment into the House proceedings, charging the President with "inciting violence against the government of the United States," citing Trump's words in a speech that may have led many in the crowd to pursue violent actions at the U.S. Capitol, including the ransacking of the office of several lawmakers. Many people were injured in the fracas, and a handful of people have died, including a member of the Capitol Police. Some in the mob threatened high-ranking members of Congress. While the mob roamed the halls and offices of the Capitol, lawmakers stood behind locked doors in their chambers.

Storming the Capitol

The mob stormed the Capitol in an attempt to disrupt the certification by Congress of the vote of the Electoral College, the final step in the process of declaring Joe Biden the next President. Since the election, Trump has insisted that he was the victim of fraud and has pursued legal action with an eye toward setting aside the results, filing more than 50 lawsuits. Only of those has been successful and that was a low-level procedural event; among the defeats for the President were cases brought before the Supreme Court.

Trump is one of three Presidents who have been impeached. The other two are Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton; neither was convicted. Trump was impeached in 2020 and was acquitted. If the House votes to impeach him again, then the Senate would convene for a trial. In 2020, the Senate voted to acquit the President. Congressional officials said that it was unlikely that the Senate would convent for such a trial before January 20, the day that Biden's term begins and Trump's term ends. However, the Senate (which after January 20 would be controlled by Democrats) could still vote to prevent Trump from holding office again. Such a declaration would need a simple majority of votes, unlike a conviction, which needs a two-thirds majority vote.

Raskin also introduced a resolution calling on Vice President Mike Pence to activate Section 4 of the 25th Amendment, declaring Trump unfit for office, and then take over as Acting President. Such an action would also have to be approved by a majority of members of the Cabinet. Republicans objected to the resolution's occurring right away, and so the entire House must vote on it. Democrats hold a majority in the House, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi is said to be expecting the passage of the resolution. Whether Pence will take that action is unknown.

Trump continued to deny any culpability in the storming of the Capitol and continued to insist that he had been robbed of a second presidential term.

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