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House inches toward impeachment following deadly riot

Effort starts Monday with resolution pushing Pence to invoke 25th Amendment

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., speaks during her weekly news conference in Washington on Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., speaks during her weekly news conference in Washington on Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats could pursue both the 25th Amendment and impeachment proceedings this week in an effort to remove President Trump from office after his role in last week’s deadly riots.

Although Trump has only nine days left in office, Democrats, infuriated by the president’s supporters raiding the Capitol on Wednesday, say he is dangerous and shouldn’t be allowed to finish his term or hold elected office again.

According to a letter circulated Sunday night by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Democrats today will seek unanimous consent to consider a House resolution sponsored by Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., calling on Vice President Pence to convene and mobilize the cabinet to activate the 25th Amendment and declare the president incapable of executing his duties.

If the resolution does not pass (without the full chamber present, any single objection would prevent passage), Democrats would consider it on the floor Tuesday. If passed, Pence would have 24 hours to respond.

Next, the letter says, the House will pursue impeachment proceedings. A trial may not occur right away: Majority Whip James E. Clyburn, D-S.C., said Sunday on CNN that the House could delay sending impeachment articles to the Senate until after President-elect Joe Biden’s first 100 days, allowing him to pursue his agenda without the distraction of an impeachment trial.

Biden has agreed with the sentiment that Trump shouldn’t serve another day but didn’t endorse any specific efforts that would remove the president before his term ends.

Any potential impeachment would occur without broad support from Republicans: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., put out a statement Friday in opposition to impeachment, saying the two parties should instead work together to facilitate the peaceful transfer of power to the Biden administration.

If the House does consider impeachment again, a “privileged” resolution is expected to go straight to the floor without hearings or a markup. Reps. David Cicilline of Rhode Island, Ted Lieu of California and Raskin — who all serve on the House Judiciary Committee, which has jurisdiction over impeachment — have drafted a resolution that leadership could use.

Lindsey McPherson contributed to this report.

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