House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has instructed members of her party to get ready to go to work in the coming week on a plan to remove President Trump from office, given the clear and present danger his continued presidency poses after his gang of supporters overtook the U.S. Capitol building.
Coincidentally—just around a year ago, the first articles of impeachment were drafted against Trump on accusations that he pressured the president of Ukraine for information on then-presidential candidate Joe Biden in exchange for U.S. military aid. Democrats were unsuccessful in their attempts to remove Trump from office then due to the loyalty of the Republican-controlled Senate to the president.
Politico reports that Pelosi and other Democratic leaders had a lengthy phone discussion on Saturday about how exactly to get Trump out of the Oval Office this time around given the dangerous insurrection on January 6 he helped incite against Congress.
Pelosi and her leadership team discussed several options for holding Trump accountable for inciting a deadly riot at the Capitol during a two-hour call Saturday night. Several top Democrats, including House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn — a close Biden ally — raised concerns that any effort to quickly confirm Biden’s Cabinet nominees or pass a major coronavirus relief package would be delayed for weeks by a Senate impeachment trial.
Democrats were not taking impeachment off the table, but the leadership team spent Saturday night batting around several potential scenarios for the coming days, including impeaching Trump in the House midweek but not immediately sending the article of impeachment to the Senate, which would initiate an immediate trial. Pelosi took similar steps after Trump’s first impeachment in 2019.The party’s dilemma is that while the vast majority of Democrats are prepared to vote next week to remove Trump from office, key parts of the caucus have also become acutely aware that impeachment would pose complications for Democrats’ agenda. But failing to take action is also not an option, with furious lawmakers eager to exact punishment for the president’s role in the attacks on the Capitol on Wednesday, which resulted in five deaths.
A group of House democrats has already drafted an impeachment resolution which earned over 180 co-sponsors this weekend, none of whom are Republicans.
However, some members of the GOP have signaled their willingness to support the use of the 25th amendment to get Trump out of office in his final days as president.
Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday that though he thinks the president may have committed impeachable offenses related to the insurrection, he believes Trump should resign.
“I think at this point, with just a few days left, it’s the best path forward, the best way to get this person in the rearview mirror for us that could happen immediately,” said Toomey.
While Sen. Ben Sasse from Nebraska has indicated he might support an impeachment effort, Alaska’s Sen. Lisa Murkowski has also called for Trump to resign, reports Reuters.
But in the spirit of GOP hypocrisy, many Republicans are publicly calling on President-elect Joe Biden—of all people—to use his clout in the Democratic Party to save Trump from facing the consequences of his own potentially seditious actions.
“In the spirit of healing and fidelity to our Constitution, we ask that you formally request that Speaker Nancy Pelosi discontinue her efforts to impeach Donald J. Trump a second time,” wrote a group of Republican members of Congress to Biden on Saturday.
“This impeachment would undermine your priority of unifying Americans, and would be a further distraction to our nation at a time when millions of our fellow citizens are hurting because of the pandemic and the economic fallout,” it continued.
Somehow, the entire letter fails to mention the massive distraction forced upon Americans in the first week of the new year: Trump supporters STORMING THE CAPITOL with threats to harm members of Congress and even Vice President Mike Pence, in the name of their outgoing president.
There’s white privilege, of which Trump has benefitted plenty, but there also is clearly another phenomenon of Republican and right-wing privilege. How is it that Trump can keep the country in chaos for four years, deliberately undermine the results of a fair election, gin up his deranged followers to go into the nation’s capital and go wild—all with the support of his fellow craven Republicans—and the takeaway now be that Democrats are the bad guys who need to extend an olive branch?
Biden has stayed publicly neutral on the impeachment talks, saying on Friday that he is “focused now on us taking control as president and vice president on the 20th and to get our agenda moving as quickly as we can,” according to PBS.
But we can’t move forward or truly heal until the wound in this country is exposed and starts being cleaned. And that won’t happen if Trump is let off the hook for the umpteenth time—especially when he still has the power of the presidency. The darkest hour is just before the dawn, and we are still days away from January 20. By then, there could be nothing but scorched earth left of the country.