Ahead of Wednesdays voting in the House of Representatives to impeach President Donald Trump on charges of inciting his supporters to attack the US Capitol, cracks appeared in the Republican Party as three of its lawmakers announced their decision to vote in favour of the motion.
Congresswoman Liz Cheney, the third-most powerful Republican lawmaker in the House of Representatives, was the first GOP House leader to announce that she will vote to impeach Trump.
“There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution. I will vote to impeach the President,” Cheney said.
“The President of the United States summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack. 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,” she said.
Cheney was soon followed by Congressmen Adam Kinzinger and John Katko.
“There is no doubt in my mind that the President of the United States broke his oath of office and incited this insurrection. He used his position in the Executive to attack the Legislative,” Kinzinger said.
“I will vote in favour of impeachment,” he said.
To allow the President of the United States to incite this attack without consequence is a direct threat to the future of democracy in the country, Katko said.
“For that reason, I cannot sit by without taking action. I will vote to impeach this President,” he said. The Democratic Party has 222 members in the 435-seat House of Representatives. The Republican Party has 211 seats, with two vacancies.
The impeachment legislation moved by the Democratic Party requires simple majority in the House. US media reported that the number of Republican lawmakers to vote in favour of impeaching Trump could be a few dozens.
Co-authored by Congressmen Jamie Raskin, David Cicilline and Ted Lieu, the article of impeachment — co-sponsored by 211 House members — was tabled on Monday.
The article of impeachment charges Trump with a count of “incitement of insurrection” for his actions on January 6, when he delivered a speech, inciting his supporters to lay siege to the Capitol, an action that temporarily halted the counting of Electoral College votes and resulted in the death of five individuals, including an officer of the US Capitol Police.
Several Republican lawmakers, at the same time, spoke against the impeachment. Congressman Steven Palazzo said the Democrats were moving ahead with a destined-to-fail article of impeachment, dividing the nation further. “I earnestly believe this is the most inappropriate course of action at this time and will be voting against this partisan maneuver,” he said.
“It is abundantly clear that America is experiencing a time of uncertainty and turmoil, and we do not need to add more fuel to an already burning fire. President-elect Biden will be sworn into office in a mere eight days and, as President Trump promised, there will be a peaceful transition of power on January 20,” Palazzo said, announcing that he will be voting against the impeachment.
Congressman Ben Cline said the attempts to impeach the President in his final eight days in office will only further fuel the political divide among the citizens and will be detrimental to long-term efforts to unify the country.
“Both President Trump and President-Elect Biden have called for a peaceful transition of power, so I would urge Speaker Pelosi to reconsider pursuing articles of impeachment. Now is a time to get back to work on addressing the issues most important to the American people,” Cline said.
Congressman Tom Tiffany said House Speaker Nancy Pelosis decision to move forward with another partisan effort to remove the President from office with just days remaining in his term is unnecessary.
“The House heard, debated and rejected constitutionally authorized challenges to the electoral college last week just as it did after the 2000, 2004 and 2016 elections when Democratic lawmakers lodged objections using the same framework in response to the concerns of their constituents. That is how our system of government works. Inflaming an already volatile situation, as this rushed and irresponsible re-impeachment push promises to, is exactly the wrong approach,” he said.
“Unity can only be achieved by focusing on where we find common ground instead of drawing new battle lines. Sadly, the efforts to impeach a President with only a week remaining in his term will only tear us further apart,” Congressman Mark Green said.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Federal staff and is auto-published from a syndicated feed.)