US House requests Pence remove Trump; chamber will vote Wednesday on impeachment

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The U.S. House of Representatives has passed the first of two measures aimed at removing President Donald Trump from office, in which the chamber on Tuesday approved a resolution requesting Vice President Mike Pence invoke the 25th Amendment.

The vote came hours after Pence sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., stating he does not believe such action would be best for the country.

House Democrats are pushing the resolution and an impeachment charge against Trump because of last week’s violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Lawmakers cite Trump’s words leading up to and on Jan. 6 as motivation for the mob that stormed the nation’s legislative building. Some Republicans have already announced they will back impeaching Trump.

The House voted 223-205 on House Resolution 21, which calls upon Pence to mobilize members of the Cabinet and declare the president is unfit to manage the responsibilities of the office.

Reps. David McKinley, Alex Mooney and Carol Miller joined 202 Republican colleagues in opposing the resolution. Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger was the only Republican who voted in support.

House Democrats tried Monday to pass the bill on unanimous consent, meaning the House would pass the bill as long as no lawmakers object on the House floor. Mooney — with some Republican colleagues standing nearby — opposed the motion, later stating a resolution on removing an elected official should not pass “without any hearings, debate or recorded votes.”

This week was previously scheduled as a district work period, which allows legislators an opportunity to return to their states.

Pelosi said Monday that Pence should act on the House’s request within 24 hours; Pence told Pelosi in a letter dated Tuesday he opposes invoking the 25th Amendment.

Vice President Mike Pence (The White House)

“I do not believe that such a course of action is in the best interest of our Nation or consistent with our Constitution,” he said. “Last week, I did not yield to pressure to exert power beyond my constitutional authority to determine the outcome of the election, and I will not now yield to efforts in the House of Representatives to play political games at a time so serious in the lief of our nation.”

Pence noted with a week until President-elect Joe Biden takes office, legislators need to focus on building unity and easing tensions on Capitol Hill and across the country.

Trump on Tuesday downplayed his role in last week’s demonstration and instead criticized the House’s actions.

“The impeachment hoax is a continuation of the greatest and most vicious witch hunt in the history of our country, and it is causing tremendous anger and division and pain — far greater than most people will ever understand, which is very dangerous for the USA, especially at this very tender time,” the president said during a visit to Texas.

The House will begin meeting Wednesday at 9 a.m. to consider the impeachment resolution, which states Trump incited the violence by repeating false claims about voter fraud. The measure also cites Trump’s attempts to pressure Georgia officials to change the state’s election results.

As Democrats hold majority control in the House, Trump will likely become the first president to be impeached twice; the House approved two articles of impeachment in December 2019 concerning a phone call between Trump and Ukraine’s leader.

The Senate acquitted Trump in February 2020; Manchin voted Trump was guilty of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., voted not guilty twice.

During the Jan. 8 episode of “MetroNews Talkline,” McKinley shared his opposition to removing Trump from office, arguing such action would further divide the country.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., has said Trump should be impeached, yet the senator has doubts if such action is appropriate with Biden’s inauguration set for Jan. 20.

Five Republican House members, including House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., announced Tuesday they will vote to impeach Trump. The New York Times additionally reported Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., believes Trump has committed impeachable actions, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., is not lobbying Republican lawmakers to oppose impeachment.

Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, blamed Trump for the mob that stormed the Capitol. Five people died in connection with the riot, including a Capitol police officer.

“The President of the United States summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack,” she said.

“Everything that followed was his doing. None of this would have happened without the President. The President could have immediately and forcefully intervened to stop the violence. He did not. There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.”

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