Republican Sen. Toomey says Trump committed ‘impeachable offenses’
Democrats’ momentum for a fresh drive to quickly impeach departing President Trump gained support Saturday, and a top Republican said the president’s role in the deadly riot at the Capitol by a violent mob of Trump supporters was worthy of rebuke.
Sen. Patrick J. Toomey (R-Pa.) said he believed Trump had committed “impeachable offenses.” But he stopped short of saying whether he would vote to remove the president from office at the conclusion of a Senate trial if the House sent over articles of impeachment.
“I don’t know what they are going to send over and one of the things that I’m concerned about, frankly, is whether the House would completely politicize something,” Toomey said Saturday on Fox News Channel, speaking of the Democratic-controlled House.
“I do think the president committed impeachable offenses, but I don’t know what is going to land on the Senate floor, if anything,” Toomey said.
The new Democratic effort to stamp Trump’s presidential record — for the second time and days before his term ends — with the indelible mark of impeachment gained momentum Saturday.
Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), a leader of the House effort to draft impeachment articles — or charges — accusing Trump of inciting insurrection, said his group had grown to 185 co-sponsors.
Trump’s bid to hold on to power through intimidation and insurrection dramatically raises the odds of the first-ever prosecution of an ex-president.
Lawmakers plan to formally introduce the proposal on Monday in the House, where articles of impeachment must originate. A vote could be possible by Wednesday — exactly one week before Democrat Joe Biden becomes president at noon on Jan. 20.
The articles, if passed by the House, would then be transmitted to the Senate for a trial, with senators acting as jurors who would ultimately vote on whether to acquit or convict Trump. If convicted, Trump would be removed from office and succeeded by the vice president.
Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, however, shared no details about her party’s plans as she addressed her hometown San Francisco constituents during an online videoconference on Saturday.
“Justice will be done. Democracy will prevail. And America will be healed,” she said. “But it is a decision that we have to make.”
A violent and largely white mob of Trump supporters overpowered police, broke through security lines and rampaged through the Capitol on Wednesday, forcing lawmakers to scatter as they were putting the final, formal touches on Biden’s victory over Trump in the electoral college.
The crowd surged to the domed symbol of American democracy following a rally near the White House, where Trump repeated his bogus claims that the election was stolen from him and urged his supporters to march in force toward the Capitol.
Leandra Blades, of the Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified Board of Education, and Whittier City Councilwoman Jessica Martinez are facing calls to resign after they attended the rally of Trump supporters in Washington that culminated in the attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Five people, including a Capitol Police officer, died as a result of the siege.
“It has been an epiphany for the world to see that there are people in our country led by this president, for the moment, who have chosen their whiteness over democracy,” Pelosi said of the attack.
She added: “This cannot be exaggerated. The complicity — not only the complicity, the instigation of the president of United States — must and will be addressed.”
No. 4 House Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries of New York reiterated support for moving against what he deemed “an act of sedition that was incited and encouraged by Donald Trump.”
Speaking of Trump, Jeffries said Saturday: “He should be impeached, convicted and thrown out of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. and forever banished to the dustbin of history.”
Outrage over the attack and Trump’s role in egging it on capped a divisive, chaotic presidency like few others in the nation’s history. There are less than two weeks until Trump is out of office, but Democrats have made clear they don’t want to wait that long.
President Trump, never one to nobly accept defeat, left plenty of clues he’d try to burn the place down on his way out the door.
Trump, meanwhile, has few fellow Republicans speaking out in his defense. He’s become increasingly isolated, holed up in the White House as he has been abandoned in the aftermath of the riot by many aides, leading Republicans and, so far, two Cabinet members — both women.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who has long voiced her exasperation with Trump’s conduct in office, told the Anchorage Daily News on Friday that he simply “needs to get out.”
Sen. Ben Sasse, another Trump critic, said more important than what happened to Trump was “what happens to the United States people and this union [in] 12 days and beyond.”
But the Nebraska Republican also told “CBS This Morning” on Friday that he would “definitely consider” whatever articles the House sent over because he believed Trump had “disregarded his oath of office” to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution.
Biden, meanwhile, reiterated that he had long viewed Trump as unfit for office. But on Friday he sidestepped a question about impeachment, saying what Congress does “is for them to decide.”
After spending many weeks refusing to concede defeat in the November election, Trump promised — after the Capitol riot — to oversee a smooth transfer of power to Biden. He called for reconciliation and healing but then announced he would not attend the inauguration — the first such presidential snub since just after the Civil War.
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