As President Donald Trump has broken the silence of the past few days without showing any regret for the speech that prompted supporters to invade Congress last week, other members of the Republican Party have rallied to support the impeachment process initiated by the Democrats.
Some of them had criticized the president’s recent actions, but the tide picked up on Tuesday with reports that Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell told relatives he believed the president had committed punishable offenses. of impeachment.
The senator would also be happy with the Democratic process – which would make it easier to remove Trump from the Republican Party.
At the same time, California Representative Kevin McCarthy, one of the president’s main allies in Congress, asked other Republicans whether to ask Trump to resign. He is publicly opposed to the impeachment, but has decided not to pressure party colleagues to vote against the measure.
And at least three of them have publicly stated that they support the president’s impeachment.
The first was Representative John Katko from New York. “Allowing the US president to incite this attack without consequences is a direct threat to the future of our democracy,” the MP said.
Then came Congresswoman Liz Cheney of Wyoming, who justified her support for impeachment by saying that “there has never been such betrayal by a President of the United States.”
“The president called this crowd, gathered the crowd and lit the flame for this attack. All that followed was his job. None of this would have happened without the president,” he said.
Then it was Adam Kinzinger from Illinois. On Twitter, he declared his position and said he had no doubts that the president “had broken his vote and instigated this insurgency. He used his position in the executive to attack the legislature.”
In a speech in Alamo, Texas, next to a section of the wall bordering Mexico – whose expansion was one of his campaign promises – the president downplayed the risk of losing his job thanks to the 25th Amendment. According to him, this possibility represents a “zero risk”.
Before leaving Washington, he told reporters his Jan.6 speech was appropriate and denied any responsibility for the invasion of Congress soon after by his supporters. “If you read my speech … what I said was very appropriate,” he said.
At the rally, Trump used slogans, such as “if you don’t really fight, you won’t have a country.” Hours later, his supporters invaded Congress in an attempt to suspend the session that certified Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election.
The president’s speech and position led to an impeachment process, presented by Democrats in the House on Monday (11). The four-page petition accuses the president of “inciting violence against the United States government.”
Trump on Tuesday called the process “absolutely ridiculous.” He said the impeachment is causing “enormous anger” in the country and that it is “a continuation of the greatest witch-hunt in political history.”
Also on Tuesday night, the House is expected to vote on a resolution calling on Vice President Mike Pence to activate the 25th Amendment, remove Trump from office and assume the presidency, on an interim basis.
The 25th Amendment is a constitutional rule that the president could be removed for incapacity. The decision to do so, however, rests solely with Pence himself and the secretaries (equivalent to ministers) of the government. Deputy assistants said he did not intend to use this measure.
Trump has only eight days in office and has seemed silent in recent days – with no public agenda and outside of social media, where he used to post multiple times a day. Last week, he was blocked by multiple platforms, including Twitter and Facebook, for inciting violence and spreading lies.
Democrats are looking for ways to penalize the Republican for his behavior. For this, they are trying to speed up the impeachment rite and vote this Wednesday (13).
There were agreements to complete in a few days a process that could take months. One of the factors that is speeding things up is that it will not be necessary to conduct investigations and give testimony, as Trump is accused of misconduct in public speaking and acting.
“Incited by the president, a crowd invaded the Capitol, attacked the security teams, threatened members of Congress and the deputy (…) and engaged in violent, murderous, destructive and seditious acts”, indicates the request for prevention.
“He threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power and jeopardized the division of powers. So, as president, he betrayed trust, which caused obvious damage to the American people, ”the petition continues.
The document also mentions his efforts to reverse the outcome of the election he lost, such as the appeal to the Georgian Secretary of State, who asked him to “find votes” to change the winner.
Trump has already been the target of an impeachment process, passed in the House, but rejected by the Senate in February 2020, with the help of Republicans.
Trump’s approval of this new impeachment process in the House is taken for granted, because Democrats have a majority in the House: they have 222 representatives, out of a total of 435. Then the process will go to the Senate, and there there are doubts.
The main question is when will the shipment be made. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, for example, could wait a few weeks to submit the case, leaving time for the two new senators elected in Georgia to take office.
When they arrive, there will be 50 senators who will vote with the Democrats and 50 Republicans. The deciding vote, however, will go to Vice President-elect Democrat Kamala Harris.
The removal of a president by impeachment requires a two-thirds majority (67 senators out of 100). Then there is another vote to judge the loss of political rights, which can be withdrawn by simple majority approval (51 senators).
With that, Trump’s impeachment will depend on at least 17 Republican senators voting against him.
The US Senate is on hold until January 19. In order for senators to resume active service and analyze the impeachment before that, an agreement between the leaders of the two parties would be necessary.
The impeachment process is unlikely to be able to remove Trump from office before his term ends on January 20. The goal, however, is another: to prevent him from running for president again.
In the United States, the impeachment procedure provides for two penalties: loss of office and prohibition on the defendant from returning to federal office.
Trump could also miss the benefits granted to former presidents, such as retirement, health insurance and private security.
The process can continue even after the Republican leaves the White House, as the U.S. Constitution does not set a deadline for removal. However, since an American president has never been prosecuted after leaving office, the issue could end up in the Supreme Court.