WASHINGTON D.C. (WRIC) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) informed her Democratic colleagues in a letter Friday that Congress will move forward with the effort to remove President Donald Trump from office if he does not leave “imminently and willingly.”
Calls for Trump’s removal have grown since Wednesday’s attack on the U.S. Capitol where a violent mob of the president’s supporters breached the building, forcing lawmakers to shelter in place or find safety amid a lockdown.
In the aftermath of the mayhem, five people were reported dead, including a U.S. Capitol Police Officer from Virginia, and dozens have been arrested.
Notable lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, including every Democratic member of Virginia’s congressional delegation, have come out publicly and pushed for Trump’s Cabinet and Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution to force the president’s removal 12 days before President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in on Jan. 20.
“As you know, there is growing momentum around the invocation of the 25th Amendment, which would allow the Vice President and a majority of the Cabinet to remove the President for his incitement of insurrection and the danger he still poses,” Pelosi wrote in a message to her caucus obtained by 8News. “Yesterday, Leader Schumer and I placed a call with Vice President Pence, and we still hope to hear from him as soon as possible with a positive answer as to whether he and the Cabinet will honor their oath to the Constitution and the American people.”
A second, more likely option that Congress is considering is impeaching Trump for a second time. There were already drafts of articles of impeachment being circulated on Thursday. Several Virginia Democrats in the House announced plans on Twitter to co-sponsor the articles.
Congressional aides who spoke in anonymity because discussions are ongoing told 8News that Democrats anticipate articles of impeachment to be formally introduced Monday.
In her letter, Pelosi told Democrats that she spoke with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley “to discuss available precautions for preventing an unstable president from initiating military hostilities or accessing the launch codes and ordering a nuclear strike.”
While such a process would require multiple steps and not something a president could initiate without a legitimate national security concern, legislators have shared their concerns with allowing Trump to finish his term.
“He [Trump] can do a lot of damage in two weeks. He can pardon anyone who was involved with the riot,” Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-Va.) said in an interview Thursday. “There is no end to what he can in that time.”
Hours after Wednesday’s attack, Wexton called on the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment and said the House should impeach Trump if they didn’t act. With two Cabinet members already resigning in the wake of the insurrection, the likelihood of Trump’s removal under the 25th Amendment are slim.
A few Republican members of Congress have come out in support of having Trump removed from office, with Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger and Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska both publicly calling for him to resign.
Two Republican members of Virginia’s congressional delegation, Reps. Morgan Griffith and Rob Wittman, told 8News’ Jackie DeFusco on Thursday that they don’t favor any such move. Both supported at least one objection certifying Biden electoral college victory after the mob stormed the Capitol.
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