GOP leadership will not lobby members to vote against President Trump’s impeachment, two House Republican leadership sources told Fox News.
“This is a conscience vote for the members, I don’t believe it will be whipped,” one senior Republican aide said.
Nevertheless, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., has said in a letter to GOP House members that he opposes impeaching the president. He 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.
With only eight days left in the president’s term, the House of Representatives is pressing forward with a second impeachment vote of Trump for his handling of rioters who breached the Capitol last Wednesday. The House will vote Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. 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.
If Pence does not oblige — and 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 impeachment resolution holds Trump responsible for inciting an insurrection. The president had spoken to the rioters hours earlier at the “Save America” rally and vowed he would “never concede,” pressuring Pence to reject certified electoral college results to hand them back to the states.
“We’re going to walk down to the Capitol and we’re going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women, and we’re probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them,” Trump told the crowd.
“Because you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength and you have to be strong. We have come to demand that Congress do the right thing and only count the electors who have been lawfully slated,” he continued. “I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.”
Shortly after, lawmakers were sent into hiding as supporters of the president barricaded through security and made their way to the House and Senate chambers.
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Most Republicans have been hesitant to call for the president to be removed so close to the day when President-elect Joe Biden will be inaugurated. A few, however, have joined the calls of their Democratic colleagues.
Among the most closely watched at the vote 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.
If the House did manage to advance impeachment to the Senate, it would unlikely come to a vote before the Senate before Inauguration Day. Due to the Senate’s recess, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the earliest the Senate could begin an impeachment trial would be Jan. 20.
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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.
Fox News’ Tyler Olson and Chad Pergram contributed to this report.