WASHINGTON — At least 214 Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives have signed on to a measure to impeach President Donald Trump that was introduced Monday, charging him with inciting the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol last week.
Supporters of the impeachment effort say they would have enough votes to send charges against Trump — who is days away from leaving office — to the Senate for a second time.
There are 222 Democrats in the House and 211 Republicans, with one race still undecided and one vacancy, so Democrats would need 217 votes.
Four Democrats who serve on the House Judiciary Committee — Reps. David Cicilline of Rhode Island, Ted Lieu of California, Jamie Raskin of Maryland and Jerrold Nadler of New York — introduced the impeachment resolution.
“Most important of all, I can report that we now have the votes to impeach,” Cicilline wrote on Twitter as he posted a copy of the resolution.ARTICLES - Final 1030 - 011121
The impeachment measure accuses Trump of making statements that “encouraged—and foreseeably resulted in — lawless action at the Capitol, such as: ‘if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.’”
The measure also cites Trump’s phone call directing Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” votes to overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s win in the state.
“In all this, President Trump gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of government,” the measure reads. “He threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power, and imperiled a coequal branch of government. He thereby betrayed his trust as president, to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.”
Wisconsin’s Democratic Reps. Gwen Moore (D-Milwaukee) and Mark Pocan (D-Black Earth) signed on to the resolution.
“Trump orchestrated an entire string of events that resulted in the deadly occupation of the U.S. Capitol,” Moore said in a statement she posted on Twitter. “Five people are now dead from the violent clashes, including a Capitol police officer. The video Trump put out is too little too late. He needs to go now.”
“We’re concerned, legitimately concerned about what could happen,” Mark Pocan told the Cap Times. “And I think that’s why there was a strong consensus that we need to do whatever we need to do to make sure that the country’s not further damaged by this person.”
Ron Kind (D-La Crosse) called for Trump to resign after Wednesday’s assault on the Capitol or to be removed under the 25th amendment, but Kind has expressed skepticism about impeachment.
“The key to all this is what my Republican colleagues in Congress are willing to do,” Kind told WEAU-13 news in Eau Claire on Friday. “What they are willing to tell the President of the United States right now. It took a number of them in ’74 to go to President Nixon and tell him ‘we no longer have your back. The right thing for you to do is to stand down’ — leave office or they would support articles of impeachment. So, we will see in the coming days just where my Republican colleagues are on this, but I know there is great internal debate taking place within their party right now on what they need to do in response of last Wednesday, but also the threat that the President continues to possess.”
Rep. Bryan Steil (R-Janesville) issued a statement on Friday condemning the move to impeach. “Joe Biden must condemn this reckless move,” Steil said. “I oppose Pelosi’s efforts to impeach President Trump. Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer have already tried to remove President Trump through impeachment. Enough already!”
The rest of Wisconsin’s Republican Congressional delegation, including Reps. Glenn Grothman (R-Glenbeulah), Mike Gallagher (R-Green Bay), Tom Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst), and Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) have also expressed their opposition to impeachment.
The impeachment process could begin as soon as Wednesday, following a final effort to ask Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office, if a majority of the Cabinet also approves.
Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) sought on Monday morning to bring up for unanimous approval a resolution from Raskin that would urge Pence to begin the 25th Amendment process. Republicans objected to that action.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has said the chamber will hold a floor vote on the resolution Tuesday, before moving to the impeachment process.
The impeachment process would typically begin in the House Judiciary Committee, but it is expected to go directly to the full House. If the article of impeachment is approved, the Senate would then hold a trial, which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said would not begin until Jan. 19, the day before Biden is set to be sworn in.
At least two Senate Republicans have called for Trump to resign: Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania.
Toomey said in broadcast interviews over the weekend that he believes Trump “committed impeachable offenses,” and suggested that the outgoing president could potentially face “criminal liability” related to the Capitol insurrection. But Toomey stopped short of saying that he would vote to convict Trump if the House does send over articles of impeachment.
“Whether impeachment can pass the United States Senate is not the issue,” Hoyer told reporters Monday morning, according to a pool feed.
“The issue is we have a president most of us believe participated in encouraging an insurrection and an attack on this building and on democracy and trying to subvert the counting of the presidential ballot.”