With only eight days remaining in President Trump’s term, the House of Representatives is barrelling toward a second impeachment vote in the coming days as outrage about the president’s role in the storming of the Capitol by his supporters last week continues to reverberate throughout Washington, D.C.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, the House will take two major steps toward impeaching Trump, which would make him the only president to be impeached twice.
Tuesday evening, the House will vote after 7:30 p.m. to vote on a resolution from Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., calling on Vice President Mike Pence to use the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office. That amendment sets up a process by which the vice president and a majority of the Cabinet may declare to Congress that the president “is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.”
If Pence does not oblige — he is not expected to — then Democrats have said they will move forward with a second impeachment of the president, starting with debate on Wednesday morning.
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“The House will next take up the Raskin legislation in regular order to call upon the Vice President to activate the 25th Amendment to remove the President,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Monday after Republicans objected to the passage of the Rankin resolution via unanimous consent. “We are further calling on the Vice President to respond within 24 hours after passage.”
She added: “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.”
Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., said on Twitter Monday that Democrats now have the votes to impeach Trump for “Incitement of Insurrection.”
The article claims that “President Trump 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 therefore betrayed his trust as president, to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.”
Beyond most Democrats backing impeachment, as they did when the House impeached Trump in 2019, there appear to be several Republicans who may vote in favor of impeaching the president.
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Among the most closely watched will be Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., who has been one of the members of GOP leadership most critical of the president. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., a more vocal Trump critic, signaled on ABC’s “This Week” that he would vote to impeach Trump, though he called such a vote not a “smart move” at the moment. Kinzinger previously said he would support removing Trump via the 25th Amendment.
Cheney, according to The Associated Press, told Republicans to “vote your conscience” on the upcoming Trump-related votes this week.
Punchbowl News reported Tuesday morning that the number of Republicans who may vote to impeach Trump could be in the double digits.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said in a letter to GOP House members that he opposes impeaching the president. He specifically said doing so would further divide the country in the wake of the attack on the Capitol last week and proposed other ways the House could respond.
“Personally, I continue to believe that an impeachment at this time would have the opposite effect of bringing our country together when we need to get America back on a path towards unity and civility,” McCarthy said. “Notwithstanding the Speaker’s push towards impeachment, I have heard from members across our conference who have raised at least four potential avenues available to the House to ensure that the events of January 6 are rightfully denounced and prevented from occurring in the future.”
These included a censure resolution against the president, a commission to investigate the attack, reform of the Electoral Count Act that lays out how Congress counts electoral votes and legislation on voting in future elections.
Other Republicans, most vocally some of the younger members of the conference, also said they opposed impeachment.
Freshman Matt Rosendale, R-Mont., said Democrats are advancing “false claims of a national crisis that requires President Trump’s immediate removal from office.” He said the 25th Amendment resolution is a “disgraceful episode of political theater.”
Rep. Jeff Van Drew, R-N.J., who was previously a Democrat, said he opposes impeachment. So did Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla.
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With debate set to start on the impeachment article Wednesday and Pelosi saying she would give Pence 24 hours after the 25th Amendment resolution passes before the House votes on impeachment, it’s possible the House may vote on the impeachment article that same day.
But even that much of a rushed vote would result in a compressed timeline for a potential Senate trial before Trump leaves office on Jan. 20. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the earliest the Senate could begin an impeachment trial would be Jan. 20.
But Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., according to a senior Democratic aide, is exploring the possibility that the Senate could convene for an impeachment trial even earlier under a 2004 Senate resolution that allows just the two party leaders to reconvene the Senate. It’s unclear that McConnell would go for such a move.
The House will debate the 25th Amendment resolution starting 9 a.m. Tuesday.
Fox News’ Chad Pergram, Jason Donner, Jacqui Heinrich, Mike Emanuel and The Associated Press contributed to this report.