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Key House Republican Liz Cheney says she’ll vote to impeach Trump as GOP backlash grows

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.)
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) said in a statement that “there has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.”
(Associated Press)

Republican opposition to impeaching President Trump began crumbling at the party’s upper echelons on Tuesday as the No. 3 House GOP leader said she would vote to impeach him.

“There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution,” Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) said in a statement that, while not unexpected, shook Congress as lawmakers prepared for a House vote Wednesday. With Democrats commanding the chamber, a vote to impeach Trump for an unprecedented second time seemed certain.

More ominously for a president clinging to his final week in office, the New York Times reported that influential Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell thinks Trump committed an impeachable offense and is glad Democrats are moving against him.

Citing unidentified people familiar with the influential Kentucky Republican’s thinking, the Times said McConnell believes moving against Trump will help the GOP forge a future independent of the divisive, chaotic president.

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McConnell is angry at the president over the insurrection at the Capitol and the twin defeats in Georgia that cost the party its Senate majority, according to a Republican granted anonymity by the New York Times to discuss the situation. That’s a sentiment many Republicans share about Trump, who rather than focusing on bolstering Georgia’s two sitting GOP senators spent the last weeks of their campaign reciting his false narrative that his own reelection was ruined by Democratic election fraud.

Cheney said Trump “summoned” the mob that attacked the Capitol last week, “assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack.” She added: “Everything that followed was his doing.”

She also noted that Trump could have immediately intervened to stop his supporters, but he did not.

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Cheney, daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, has run afoul of Trump and far-right Republicans over the years on issues including wearing protective masks and withdrawing troops from Syria. She’s respected by mainstream conservatives and is one of the GOP’s few House female stars.

“Good for her for honoring her oath of office,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told reporters when asked about Cheney’s decision. “Would that more Republicans would honor their oaths of office.”

Lawmakers’ oath includes a vow to defend the Constitution “against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”

Trump himself has taken no responsibility for his role in inciting the attackers.

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Reps. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) an Air Force veteran, and John Katko (R-N.Y.), a former federal prosecutor, became the first rank-and-file GOP lawmakers to say they would vote to impeach Trump. Later joining the GOP faction was Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.).

Kinzinger said in a statement Tuesday that Trump is responsible for whipping up “an angry mob” that stormed the Capitol last week, leaving five dead. He said “there is no doubt” in his mind that Trump “broke his oath of office and incited this insurrection.”

The House is set to start impeachment proceedings against Trump on Wednesday.


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