Democrats began discussing on Friday whether to move forward with the quick impeachment of President Donald Trump if his Cabinet doesn’t try to remove him first, acting swiftly two days after the US Capitol was ransacked by a pro-Trump mob.
House Democrats are set to hold a caucus meeting at noon, the first since Wednesday’s harrowing events at the Capitol, and could take up articles of impeachment against Trump as soon as next week. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi discussed the prospect of impeachment with her leadership team Thursday night, hours after announcing the House was willing to act if Vice President Mike Pence and other officials did not invoke Section 4 of the 25th Amendment — the forceful removal of Trump from power by his own Cabinet.
Five people are now dead from the violent melee, including police officer Brian Sicknick. Pelosi said in a statement on Friday that Sicknick’s death “reminds us of our obligation to those we serve: to protect our country from all threats foreign and domestic.”
She said those responsible for the death of the officer “must be brought to justice.”
Though Trump has less than two weeks in office, lawmakers and even some in his administration began discussing options for his removal on Wednesday afternoon as Trump first encouraged the crowd to march on the Capitol, then refused to forcefully condemn the violent assault and appeared to excuse it.
Rep. Katherine Clark, a member of House Democratic leadership, said procedural steps could allow them to move far quicker than they did on Trump’s impeachment last year.
“I can confirm that we have had discussions about it and I would hope that the speaker would move forward if the vice president refuses to do what he is required to do under the Constitution,” said Rep. James Clyburn, the No. 3 House Democrat, on CNN. “Everyone knows that this president is deranged.”
One leading Republican critic of Trump, Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska, said he will “definitely consider” impeachment.
“The president has disregarded his oath of office,” Sasse said Friday on “CBS This Morning.” He said what Trump did was “wicked’ inciting the mob to the Capitol.
If the House impeaches, “I will definitely consider whatever articles they might move,” Sasse said.
THE 25TH AMENDMENT
Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer have called for Trump’s Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment to the Constitution to force Trump from office before President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated on Jan. 20. Schumer said he and Pelosi tried to call Pence early Thursday to discuss that option but were unable to connect with him.
Pelosi during a new conference on Thursday challenged several Cabinet members by name, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.
“Do they stand by these actions?” Pelosi asked. “Are they ready to say that for the next 13 days this dangerous man can do further harm to our country?”
Most Democrats, and many Republicans, put the blame squarely on Trump after hundreds of protesters bearing Trump flags and clothing broke into the Capitol on Wednesday and caused destruction and mass evacuations. The president had urged his supporters to protest as Congress was counting the electoral votes that confirmed Joe Biden’s win. CURRENTPH