Former U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, told “Fox & Friends” on Wednesday that he doesn’t believe President Trump committed an impeachable offense as Democrats push for the president’s impeachment following last week’s riot at the U.S. Capitol.
The Fox News contributor argued that Democrats are “setting a dangerous precedent” by pushing for impeachment, adding that it will “further divide the country.”
As the House of Representatives is on the verge of impeaching Trump for the second time in less than two years, Republicans in both chambers of Congress are split on whether or not to support the effort in the tumultuous final days of the his presidency.
The House will start to debate the “rule” governing the parameters of the impeachment after 9 a.m. EST on Wednesday before taking two procedural votes. Then two hours of actual debate on impeachment will happen during the afternoon before a vote on impeachment, which will only need a simple majority.
The fissure goes from the top of Republican leadership ranks all the way down to the rank-and-file of the party’s lawmakers. It represents an unraveling after the GOP remained largely united behind Trump for nearly his entire term, including during his first impeachment process.
The split among the GOP also follows months of false remarks by the president that he won the election over President-elect Joe Biden. At a National Mall rally last week before the riots, Trump continued to double down on the claims. After Trump spoke, his supporters marched down Pennsylvania Avenue before ransacking the Capitol building and forcing hundreds of lawmakers and Vice President Mike Pence to go into hiding.
Police in Washington, D.C., said the security breach at the U.S. Capitol resulted in five deaths, including a veteran who reportedly served four tours with the Air Force and a U.S. Capitol Police officer who died after suffering injuries during the riots.
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At least five House members have already said they will vote to impeach Trump, most notably Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., the House GOP conference chair, the third-highest ranking position among House Republicans.
Most Republicans, however, are expected to vote against impeachment, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. In a letter to GOP colleagues this week, McCarthy said that impeaching the president would further divide the country.
Chaffetz agreed with McCarthy.
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“There is nothing in that resolution which I have read that they can point to where Donald Trump invoked violence,” he said. “No doubt that it was a shameful day. I didn’t like it. I was a little bit frustrated with the president, but it’s not an impeachable offense.”
Chaffetz stressed that if Democrats “had a line in the speech from Donald Trump where he invoked violence and to break the law, they would have put it in there [the impeachment resolution], but they didn’t.”
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Fox News’ Tyler Olson, Chad Pergram, Jason Donner, Mike Emanuel, Brooke Singman and Kelly Phares contributed to this report.