US Democrats on January 9 were readying for an unprecedented second impeachment of Donald Trump as the defiant president showed no signs of stepping down after the deadly violence at the Capitol.
Democrats said impeachment proceedings could begin as early as January 11 – an extraordinary acceleration of a process that historically has taken weeks, but one that might not be completed before President-elect Joe Biden is sworn into office on January 20.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi warned that Democrats will launch the process unless Trump resigns or Vice-President Mike Pence invokes the 25th Amendment, where the cabinet removes the president.
“He’s deranged, unhinged and dangerous. He must go,” Pelosi, referring to Trump, tweeted on January 8.
The move to impeach came amid continued fury over the storming of the Capitol on January 6 by angry Trump supporters, which left five people dead, including a Capitol policeman.
Authorities announced new arrests and charges on January 9 over the incursion, including a tattoo-chested man in a horned headdress whose image was beamed around the world.
That man, Jacob Anthony Chansley, also known as Jake Angeli, and two others – one of them a newly elected state official from West Virginia – were charged in federal court in connection with the violence, according to the US attorney’s office for the District of Columbia.
‘Gravely endangered of US’
The impeachment text – signed by at least 180 members of Congress so far, according to Democratic congressman Ted Lieu – laid blame squarely at the president’s feet.
It says: “In all of this, President Trump gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of government. He threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power, and imperilled a coordinate branch of government.”
Trump, who had urged his supporters to come to Washington on January 6 for a rally opposing his November election loss, has remained defiant, even after finally posting a video on January 7 in which he belatedly promised an “orderly transition” to the Biden administration.
But the president also said that “it’s only the beginning of our fight”.
That sort of language prompted Twitter to suspend Trump permanently on January 8 and fuelled Democrats’ moves against him.
The Twitter ban drew an angry response from Trump, who in a statement late on January 8 accused the popular platform – where he had more than 88 million followers – of having “coordinated with the Democrats and the radical left”.