House Dems Move To Impeach Trump For “Incitement Of Insurrection”

House Democrats introduced an article of impeachment Monday that charges Trump with inciting violence against the U.S. government, and Nancy Pelosi gave Mike Pence a formal ultimatum on invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (left); President Donald Trump (right) | Getty Images
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (left); President Donald Trump (right) | Getty Images

Democrats in the House of Representatives are moving to impeach President Donald Trump a second time, following last week’s deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol. More than 210 Democrats have signed on to a resolution that would impeach Trump for “incitement of insurrection.” 

On Monday morning, in a short session of the House of Representatives just before noon, Democrats introduced a resolution from Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) calling on Vice President Mike Pence “to immediately use his powers” under the 25th Amendment “convene and mobilize...the Cabinet to declare what is obvious to a horrified nation: That the President is unable to successfully discharge the duties and powers of his office.”

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and other Democratic leaders repeated calls Sunday and Monday that Pence should invoke the 25th Amendment. She said if the VP does not take action to remove Trump from office within 24 hours of the House passing the resolution — which now looks likely for Tuesday — Democrats would proceed with impeachment.

The 25th Amendment covers transferring power to the Vice President when the current sitting president is unable to lead because of resignation, death, or inability to discharge the powers and duties of the office. The amendment does not clarify what qualifies as “inability” to lead, but does offer further guidance if the vice president’s seat is vacant. 

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) moved to pass Monday's resolution through unanimous consent. Only one objection is needed for unanimous consent to fail, and Republican Rep. Alex Mooney of West Virginia immediately objected. The House adjourned until 9 a.m. ET Tuesday, when Democrats plan to bring up the resolution for a roll call vote. It will likely pass, starting Pence's 24-hour notice.

Then, the House will formally consider the article of impeachment titled “Incitement of Insurrection” that Reps. Raskin, Ted Lieu (D-CA), David Cicilline (D-RI) introduced Monday. 

With the assumption likely that Pence will not invoke the 25th Amendment, and the fact that almost every Democrat and a few Republicans have signaled support for impeaching Trump this week, a full impeachment vote is expected in the House on Wednesday or Thursday.  

Pelosi put out a statement after the session Monday: "As our next step, we will move forward with bringing impeachment legislation to the Floor.”

“The President’s threat to America is urgent, and so too will be our action,” she continued.

The impeachment resolution cites multiple documented lies Trump has repeated about the election being “stolen” from him over the last two months. 

The Democratic representatives wrote, “He also willfully made statements that, in context, encouraged - and foreseeable resulted in - lawless action at the Capitol, such as: ‘if you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore.’ Thus incited by President Trump, members of the crowd he had addressed, in an attempt to, among other objectives, interfere with the Joint Session’s solemn constitutional duty to certify the results of the 2020 Presidential election, unlawfully breached and vandalized the Capitol, injured and killed law enforcement personnel, menaced Members of Congress, the Vice President, and Congressional personnel, and engaged in other violent, deadly, destructive, and seditious acts.”

The resolution continues: "In all this, President Trump gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of Government. He threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power, and imperiled a coequal branch of Government. He thereby betrayed his trust as President, to the manifest injury of the people of the United States."

Trump would be the first president in American history to be impeached a second time, following his impeachment for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress in December 2019.

After impeachment in the House, the timeline of a Senate trial remains unclear at this point. While at least two Republican senators have called on Trump to resign (Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania), and two others have signaled support for impeachment (Mitt Romney of Utah and Ben Sasse of Nebraska), the Senate is not scheduled to come back into session until January 19, the day before Biden’s inauguration. The trial to convict or acquit Trump could therefore take place after he’s left office, as Biden begins his presidency. A conviction after Trump is no longer president could mean he is barred from ever holding elected office again, a priority for many, given the talk around a potential Trump 2024 presidential run. 

McConnell will remain Majority Leader in the Senate until Georgia certifies its January 5 election results, in which Democrats Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff won. When they are seated, Democrats will have effective majority control of the upper chamber. Georgia has until January 22 to certify its results.

Before the session began Monday, when the CSPAN camera was holding on a view of the House door, Capitol Hill reporter Jamie Dupree noted on Twitter that the view "is about 20 feet from where police shot dead a Trump supporter who was trying to break into the lobby just off the House floor. Lawmakers were sheltering from the attack on the House floor at the time."

Rep. Raskin, who is co-leading the impeachment charge and brought his daughter Tabitha and son-in-law Hank to the Capitol to watch the certification process Wednesday before the attack, has also been mourning the recent death of his son.