Democrats have been working quickly to prepare impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump – and House majority whip James Clyburn (D-SC) told Fox News Sunday that a vote on it will "likely be Tuesday, maybe Wednesday".
Punchbowl News co-founder and Capitol Hill veteran John Bresnahan reported Sunday that the house will have a brief session on Monday. MP Ted Lieu (D-CA), who helped draft the impeachment procedures, tweeted that the articles would be presented at that meeting and that they would have 200 co-sponsors by Sunday afternoon.
The House's move to initiate impeachment is in response to Trump's role in sparking a deadly riot in the U.S. Capitol last Wednesday with the aim of stopping, delaying or undermining Congressional certification of the 2020 presidential election. The impeachment articles that have been made available address this by accusing Trump of "inciting insurrection".
However, the final articles could also look at previous efforts Trump made to scrap the election results. Clyburn told CNN's State of the Union that he found a series of phone calls in which Trump cursed and threatened Georgia state election officials in an attempt to discard the state's presidential election results to be incontestable, and I think this is in the Discussion should be included. ”
Some Democrats, including Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), advised their party against initiating immediate impeachment proceedings, saying that priority should be given to focusing on swiftly passing laws at the start of the new administration and confirming Biden's cabinet.
"We have to put our government together quickly – that's the most important thing we should do," Manchin told the Washington Post on Friday. "We don't need any more political theater."
Addressing these concerns, Clyburn advised CNN that House Democrats could sit on impeachment until after the first 100 days of President-elect Biden, prioritizing the new president's political agenda.
Clyburn said the best way to reconcile the impeachment process with the start of Biden's term would ultimately be left to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, but said he would propose, "Let's give President-elect Biden the 100 days to that he needs to get his agenda up and running and maybe we'll send the articles sometime after that. "
Rep. James Clyburn says while awaiting the House will take action against the impeachment article against Pres. Trump this week, House Democrats could wait until after the first 100 days in office of President-elect Biden to send the article to the Senate. #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/aLjjNWAxG9
– State of the Union (@CNNSotu) January 10, 2021
Regardless of when the House might be able to deliver potential items, there will likely be delays on the Senate side. On Friday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) distributed a memo to his GOP colleagues setting out a possible timetable in case the House immediately sent impeachment cases to the upper chamber. In it, McConnell writes that a trial would start on January 19 at the earliest, the day before Trump is due to resign.
If impeachment leads to Senate trial, it is unclear whether Democrats will have the 67 votes needed to convict Trump. After newly elected Georgia Democrats Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff are sworn in as Senators, the Democrats will have a slim majority of one vote in the Chamber (with elected Vice President Kamala Harris as a groundbreaking 51st vote).
There are two Republican senators, Sens. Pat Toomey and Lisa Murkowski, calling for Trump to resign, but no GOP senators have announced that they would vote to condemn him.
There seems to be enough support in the House of Representatives for a successful impeachment – in addition to the 200 supporters of the draft article, over 220 Democrats in the Chamber have publicly expressed their support for impeachment proceedings.
If Trump were indicted, he would be the first president in US history to be indicted twice.
Democrats argue that Trump must be indicted – even if he leaves office before a trial in the Senate
Given potential Senate delays, it seems unlikely that Trump will step down due to a Senate conviction before his term expires on Jan. 20.
A faster form of dismissal could be by the vice-president and cabinet invoking the 25th Amendment – which allows these parties to disempower a president who is deemed unsuitable for office.
But Vice President Mike Pence ruled against invoking the 25th amendment earlier this week, despite reports that some cabinet members have come under pressure to do so. According to CNN, Pence has decided to keep that option in his back pocket in case Trump's behavior worsens in the final days of his tenure.
As Andrew Prokop of Vox reported, the Democrats initially hoped that Pence would lead a removal through the 25th amendment. Now that it is clear this will not happen, Democrats argue that they have no choice but to proceed with the impeachment.
On Sunday, MP Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) told ABC's George Stephanopoulos that "every minute" Trump stays in office is "a clear and present danger," and she hopes Congress will push Trump from taking office again may prevent impeachment proceedings.
Several prominent Republicans, including Trump allies Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), have spoken out against the impeachment and instead called for "healing and unity" after the uprising. But Ocasio-Cortez pushed back against that rhetorical Sunday, saying, "The healing process is separate and actually requires accountability … because without it it will happen again," she said.
MP Ocasio-Cortez is pushing back against some GOP lawmakers proposing a second impeachment of Pres. Trump would threaten unity: "The healing process is separate and actually requires accountability … because without it it will happen again." https://t.co/wbex0bS4Sb pic.twitter.com/6QcDczitua
– ABC News (@ABC) January 10, 2021
Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) echoed Ocasio-Cortez in comments on CBS's Face the Nation on Sunday, saying, "There can only be reconciliation with repentance."
"Many of my Republican colleagues are now calling for healing and for us to come together. I will tell you that there can only be reconciliation with repentance." – Senator Chris Coons pic.twitter.com/dl6Sg1lNUQ
– Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) January 10, 2021
In essence, that's what Democrats argue Impeachment, even if it comes after Trump leaves office, will make it clear that inciting a rebellion by elected federal officials is a line that must never be crossed again.
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