In an unprecedented move, US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that the House will initiate impeachment proceedings against outgoing US President Donald Trump for allegedly encouraging his supporters to storm the Capitol building.
Earlier this week, the US Congress formally certified the Electoral College victory of Joe Biden as the next US President and Kamala Harris as the Vice President in the recently concluded presidential elections. And even though Joe Biden will be sworn-in on January 20, Pelosi and the Democrats believe that Trump should be impeached immediately.
"It is the hope of members that the President will immediately resign. But if he does not, I have instructed the Rules Committee to be prepared to move forward with Congressman Jamie Raskin’s 25th Amendment legislation and a motion for impeachment," Pelosi said in a statement on Friday.
"Accordingly, the House will preserve every option – including the 25th Amendment, a motion to impeach or a privileged resolution for impeachment,” she added after the House Democratic Caucus had an hours-long discussion on the issue.
Many members of the House called for immediate impeachment on Friday. "Let’s do it right now," Indian-American Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal said, while Congressman Kaiali'i Kahele said he fully supported removing Trump from office, either by invoking the 25th Amendment or bringing forth articles of impeachment against him.
"We cannot have a sitting president in office who incites violence among the people, or who tries to upend the American people's democratic process and right to a just election...his remarks in front of an agitated mob of his supporters that roused civil indignancy at the grounds of the US Capitol are unforgivable," he said adding “every day Trump remains in the White House is another day America is unsafe”.
House members Kahele, David Cicilline, Ted Lieu, Jamie Raskin and Ilhan Omar have authored two resolutions of impeachments against Trump.
The resolution by Cicilline, Lieu and Raskin offers a single article of impeachment of abuse of power that covers both inciting violence against the US as well as Trump’s urging of Georgia’s Secretary of State to find votes.
Omar’s resolution contains two articles of impeachment -- Trump's abuse of power and unlawful attempts to overturn the November 2020 presidential election; and his abuse of power to incite violence and orchestrate a coup against the country.
Congressman Gregory Meeks, Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, led Democratic members of the Committee in calling for the impeachment of Trump for instigating the attack on the Capitol.
"There is a foreign policy imperative to hold the President accountable for his actions — we must demonstrate to the world that no one in America is above the law...the Constitution demands that we, as members of the House of Representatives, use every tool at our disposal to safeguard our country and our democracy during this perilous time by holding to account those who would do them harm. That tool is impeachment," the members wrote in a letter addressed to Pelosi.
Congressman Adam Schiff alleged that by inciting the act of insurrection, Trump has committed his worst offence against the country and Constitution to date. "The danger of him continuing to abuse his power will go up, not down, in the time remaining in his term. To protect the country from any further harm, he must leave office, immediately. The best course would be for him to resign...Failing that, the Vice President and Cabinet should invoke the 25th Amendment and remove him from any further performance of his duties,” he said.
(With PTI inputs)