Will the Democrats push for impeachment?
Washington (AP) - After supporters of Donald Trump stormed the Capitol, the Democrats in the US House of Representatives are pushing ahead with the opening of a second impeachment proceedings against the elected president.
According to the Democratic MP Ted Lieu, his group brought a resolution in the Congress Chamber on Monday accusing Trump of "inciting a riot". According to a spokeswoman for Lieus, a vote could be taken in the House of Representatives on Wednesday on the charge and thus also on the opening of impeachment proceedings.
The trigger for the efforts to oust the president shortly before the change of power in Washington in the coming week are riots and the storming of the US parliament by violent Trump supporters last Wednesday. The Democrats in the resolution accuse Trump of inciting his supporters at a rally before storming the Capitol. Several people were killed in the riot, including a police officer. The draft resolution describes Trump as "a threat to national security, democracy and the constitution".
The Democrats control the House of Representatives and can pass the charge with a majority. Even if the House of Representatives decided to initiate impeachment proceedings against Trump this week, a decision in the Senate to hear the proceedings would be virtually impossible before his Democratic successor Joe Biden was inaugurated on January 20.
The Democrats are also interested in banning Trump from future government offices after being sentenced in impeachment proceedings. This would deny him a possible candidacy in 2024. Trump would be the first US president in history to have two impeachment proceedings opened.
Even if resentment about Trump is also growing among the Republicans - the two-thirds majority in the Senate that is necessary for a conviction is not in sight. With the future 50 Democrats in the Senate, 17 Republicans would have to vote. In the first impeachment process, the Republicans in the Senate acquitted Trump in February 2020.
The Democrats want to prevent the events of the past week from having no consequences for Trump and are pursuing a two-pronged strategy. At the same time as pushing ahead with the impeachment process, they want to persuade Vice President Mike Pence to remove Trump on the basis of the 25th Amendment to the US Constitution before the change of power in Washington.
An immediate passing of a resolution, to which Pence is supposed to react within 24 hours, failed on Monday due to opposition from the Republicans. To avoid a vote in plenary, the resolution should have been passed unanimously. Republican MP Alex Mooney blocked Democratic MP Steny Hoyer's attempt to get the resolution through the Chamber on Monday. The Democrats should pass them on Tuesday with their majority. House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi condemned Republican resistance. "Your complicity endangers America, erodes our democracy, and it must end."
Pelosi had already urged Vice President Pence in the past few days to take steps to depose Trump. Amendment 25 enables the Vice President to declare the President with a majority of key cabinet members incapable of "exercising the rights and duties of office". Pence has not yet responded to the demands. Criticism of the president is also increasing among Trump's Republicans: two Republican senators are now calling for his immediate resignation.
Trump will automatically leave office with the swearing-in of his Democratic successor Joe Biden on January 20. CNN reported that Pence wanted to attend the ceremony in Washington. Trump had canceled his participation in the swearing-in ceremony of Biden. After Wednesday's chaos, there is concern about further violence. Capital Mayor Muriel Bowser called on the Department of Homeland Security to adjust procedures for this year's inauguration "in the face of the chaos, injuries and deaths" during the riots on and in the Capitol.
The US authorities meanwhile reported further arrests. The Washington prosecutor said Sunday that the FBI had caught one suspect in Texas and another in Tennessee. The two intruders are said to have carried plastic handcuffs with them in the Capitol, as they normally use police officers for arrests.
Prosecutors said the suspects have been charged in federal court with illegal entry into a specially secured building, as well as violent entry and improper behavior on the Capitol grounds. In connection with the storm on the Capitol on Wednesday, at least 20 suspects have to answer before a federal court.
First Lady Melania Trump broke her silence since the violence broke out on and in the Capitol on Monday. "I am disappointed and discouraged with what happened last week," she said. "I fully condemn the violence that has taken place at our nation's Capitol. Violence is never allowed." It is time for the country to come together. At the same time, the First Lady thanked the millions of people who have supported her and her husband over the past four years.
© dpa-infocom, dpa: 210111-99-974386 / 5
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