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House Democrats introduce article of impeachment against Trump

House Democrats press to remove Trump
House measure urges use of 25th Amendment as Democrats press to oust Trump 10:36

House Democrats introduced an article of impeachment against President Trump on Monday for incitement of insurrection after last week's riots at the U.S. Capitol.

The article of impeachment accuses the president of "willfully inciting violence against the Government of the United States." While Congress was gathering to count the Electoral College votes, the article says that Mr. Trump, addressing supporters nearby, "willfully made statements that encouraged — and foreseeably resulted in — imminent lawless action at the  Capitol." 

"Incited by President Trump, a mob unlawfully breached the Capitol, injured law enforcement personnel, menaced Members of Congress and the Vice President, interfered with the Joint Session's solemn constitutional duty to certify the election results, and engaged in violent, deadly, destructive, and seditious acts," the article says.

As a result, he "gravely 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 coordinate branch of government. He thereby betrayed his trust as President, to the manifest injury of the people of the United States."

For this, the article says, Mr. Trump should be impeached, removed and disqualified from holding public office again. 

The House will vote on Tuesday on a resolution calling on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment, which allows the vice president and the majority of the president's Cabinet to remove a president if he is deemed unfit for office. If Pence does not respond within 24 hours of the House passing this resolution, it will proceed with taking up the article of impeachment.

This development comes the week after a mob of Trump supporters overran the Capitol on Wednesday in riots that resulted in the deaths of five people, including a Capitol policeman who was trying to help reestablish control at the Capitol complex.

The bill has over 210 cosponsors, a sign of the broad support among House Democrats to take action in the wake of the violence at the Capitol. It was authored by Democratic Representatives Ted Lieu of California, and David Cicilline of Rhode Island, who began drafting it while sheltering in place Wednesday in the Capitol complex. Maryland Representative Jamie Raskin also helped write the article.

The White House called the impeachment article "politically motivated" and repeated Mr. Trump's assertions in a video Thursday that he was calling for "healing and unity." 

A House impeachment resolution would move to the floor and could get a vote quickly, because there would be no hearings to present evidence. The Judiciary Committee has not yet been constituted for the 117th Congress, so an impeachment resolution would go directly to the floor under what's known as a "privileged resolution." A simple majority of members in the House is required for impeachment, so it seems likely to pass.

However, this is where the proceedings could be an impediment to Mr. Biden: the impeachment article would then move to the Senate for consideration, monopolizing the calendar just ahead of Mr. Biden's inauguration. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell noted last week that the earliest the Senate could consider any articles of impeachment would be January 19, the day before inauguration.

Once the Senate receives articles of impeachment, it is required to consider them before acting on any other business — including confirming any nominees for the incoming president's Cabinet. Congressman Jim Clyburn has suggested that the House may choose to hold on to the article of impeachment during Mr. Biden's first 100 days so that his presidency is not derailed.

Two-thirds of the Senate — 67 senators — would be required to convict Mr. Trump. He is on track to be the first president in U.S. history to undergo impeachment proceedings twice.

The House impeached Mr. Trump in December 2018 on charges of obstruction of Congress and abuse of power, although he was acquitted by the Senate in early February 2019. Only one Republican senator, Mitt Romney, voted to remove Mr. Trump from office. 

Here is the article that has been introduced:

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