WASHINGTON: U.S. Democrats gathered for an unlikely second impeachment of Donald Trump on Saturday when the stubborn president showed no signs of backing down after the Capitol’s deadly violence.
Democrats said impeachment hearings could commence as early as Monday, an unprecedented expansion in a procedure that has traditionally taken weeks, but one that could not be finished before the swearing-in of President-elect Joe Biden on January 20.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi warned that unless Trump resigned or Vice President Mike Pence invoked the 25th Amendment, where the cabinet replaces the president, Democrats will begin the procedure.
He is deranged, he is unhinged and he is deadly. He must go,’ Pelosi tweeted on Friday, referring to Trump.
The attempt to impeach the president came despite continued fury over furious Trump supporters’ storming of the Capitol on Wednesday, which left five people dead, including a Capitol policeman.
The impeachment text drafted by Democrats laid the blame squarely at the president’s feet for the deadly events.
The impeachment text prepared by Democrats blames the president for deadly events at the Capitol
President Trump, in all of this, severely jeopardised the stability of the United States and its government agencies. He challenged the political system’s legitimacy, interfered with the peaceful transfer of power, and threatened an organised branch of government.” Trump, who had urged his supporters to come to Washington on Wednesday for a rally against his November electoral loss, remained defiant, even after finally posting a video on Thursday in which he promised a “orderly transition” to be late.”
But the president has said that “it’s just the start of our fight.” That sort of language caused Twitter to indefinitely suspend Trump and fueled the moves of Democrats against him.
In his last full week in office, several Democrats and at least one Republican representative, Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, urged Trump to resign to escape the messiness of impeachment hearings, but he allegedly appeared adamant in meetings with his aides.
Trump said that he never wanted to strike the Capitol complex, where Congress had assembled to certify the victory of Biden in the state-by-state Electoral College tally, for his allies, but rather to promote peaceful resistance.
But in the confusion that day, one Trump supporter was shot and killed, senators, reporters and workers were forced to seek cover, a Capitol police officer was killed in the chaos and the landmark building was robbed and vandalised by invaders, some parading with Confederate flags across its halls.
The procedure needs first majority support in the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives, and then, for conviction, two-thirds consent in the Senate, much as when Trump was impeached in a traumatic 2019 partisan ballot, but not convicted.
In the closely split upper chamber, hitting two-thirds may be hard, but a number of Republicans who have long backed Trump have shared their disappointment with Wednesday’s events.
Trump backers have encouraged Biden to intervene with top Democratic leaders, including Senator Lindsey Graham, to call off the impeachment effort.
I appeal to President-elect Biden to take up the phone and contact Nancy Pelosi and the Team to end the second impeachment,” Graham said on Fox News on Friday, referring to the speaker of the House and a group of four young progressive Democrats who are the political right’s favourite targets.”
But on Friday, Biden, whose inauguration on January 20, usually a pomp-filled affair attended by thousands, is being severely scaled down, stepped up the issue of an impeachment reporter.
“It is for them to do what Congress decides to do,” he said.