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Republican Illinois U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger Says He'll Vote To Impeach President Trump

CHICAGO (CBS Chicago/CBS News) -- Illinois Congressman Adam Kinzinger is one of at least five House Republicans who say they'll vote to impeach President Donald Trump following the assault on the U.S. Capitol last week.

"I think in my mind at least, in my conscience of what I believe my job is, there's no way I can vote no on this," Kinzinger said Wednesday morning.

Kinzinger first announced his plan to vote to impeach the president in a Twitter post on Tuesday, and Wednesday morning said his mind hasn't changed, especially after Mr. Trump took no responsibility for his words and the influence they had on supporters who stormed the Capitol. Mr. Trump claimed, inaccurately, that the general assessment is that his Wednesday speech was "appropriate." Both Democrats and Republicans have said the president bears at least some responsibility for last week's events.

In his statement, Kinzinger said:

Kinzinger issued a statement via Twitter.

"Throughout my time in Congress, I've sought to do the right thing for the good of the people I represent and the country as a whole. We are in uncharted waters here, and in a moment in history we have not experienced in modern times.

"On January 6, 2020, the President of the United States encouraged an angry mob to storm the United States Capitol to stop the counting of electoral votes. This angry mob turned violent and caused destruction to our nation's symbol of democracy. This insurrection led to countless injuries and the death of several people, including two of our U.S. Capitol Police Officers.

"There is no doubt in my mind that the President of the United States broke his oath of office and incited this insurrection. He used his position in the Executive to attack the Legislative. So in assessing the articles of impeachment brought before the House, I must consider: if these actions – the Article II branch inciting a deadly insurrection against the Article I branch – are not worthy of impeachment, then what is an impeachable offense?

"I will vote in favor of impeachment."

The House has approved a resolution formally asking Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment, which allows a majority of the Cabinet to remove the president from office. But Pence said in a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi that he would not invoke the 25th Amendment, and on Wednesday the House is moving forward on a vote to impeach President Trump.

Democrats have moved swiftly on efforts to remove Mr. Trump from office following the assault last week on the Capitol, arguing his repeated unfounded claims the election was stolen and heated rhetoric during a rally just before the attack incited the violence on January 6. Appearing at the rally near the White House, Mr. Trump urged supporters in attendance to "fight like hell."

An article of impeachment introduced in the House on Monday and backed by more than 200 Democrats and at least five Republicans accuses Mr. Trump of "incitement of insurrection," and says he "gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of government."

Kinzinger did not vote in favor of impeaching President Trump a year ago over allegations that the president improperly looked for help from Ukraine to boost his chances for reelection in 2020.

Besides Kinzinger, at least four other House Republicans – House GOP leadership member Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming), Rep. John Katko (R-New York), Rep. Fred Upton (R-Michigan), and Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Washington) – have publicly said they will vote to impeach the president.

Kinzinger also was the first Republican to call for Mr. Trump's removal through the 25th Amendment, but with Pence dismissing that idea, Kinzinger said he backs impeachment.

"If this has not risen to the level of impeachment, I don't know what is," he said. "The bottom line is this: we talk all the time about young people that fight and die for this country, we do it with a tear in our eye, we speak on Memorial Day parades, and we should do all that, but we have to be willing to give up our career for the same cause, even if it's a different one. I mean, this is one of these moments that transcends politics."

White House sources said as many as 20 House Republicans will vote in favor of impeachment.

Earlier Tuesday, President Trump brushed aside calls for his removal over last week's attack at the Capitol, saying the 25th Amendment is "of zero risk to me, but will come back to haunt Joe Biden."

"Be careful what you wish for," Mr. Trump said in Alamo, Texas, during a visit to the border. He said the impeachment effort mounted by House Democrats is "dangerous for the USA, especially at this very tender time."

The president's remarks came hours after he declined to take any responsibility for the deadly assault on the Capitol that left five dead. Speaking to reporters before boarding Air Force One, Mr. Trump claimed his speech to supporters before they stormed the Capitol was "totally appropriate."

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