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US’ Democrats forging ahead to impeach Trump, for second time

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US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, on September 24, 2019, and US President Donald Trump in Washington, DC, on September 20, 2019. AFP

US’ Democrats forging ahead to impeach Trump, for second time

US Democrats on January 10 said they would push to remove President Donald Trump from office during the final days of his administration after his supporters’ violent attack on the Capitol, with some Republicans supporting the move.

Trump could face a historic second impeachment before the January 20 inauguration of Democrat Joe Biden, at a time when the US is hit by a surging pandemic, a flagging economy and searing division.

House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the top Democrat in Congress, said there would be a resolution on January 11 calling for the cabinet to remove Trump as unfit for office under the Constitution’s 25th amendment.

If Vice-President Mike Pence does not agree to invoke the amendment, “we will proceed with bringing impeachment legislation” in the House, Pelosi said.

She said: “As the days go by, the horror of the ongoing assault on our democracy perpetrated by this President is intensified and so is the immediate need for action.”

Trump was already impeached once by the Democratic-controlled House in December 2019 for pressuring the Ukrainian president to dig up political dirt on Biden.

He was acquitted by the Republican-majority Senate.

Though time is running short, Democrats likely have the votes in the House to impeach Trump again and could draw increased Republican support for the move.

But they are unlikely to muster the two-thirds majority needed to convict Trump in the 100-member Senate and remove him from office.

‘Incitement to violence’

Authorities are seeking to arrest more Trump supporters who violently stormed the Capitol on January 6 after the president held a rally outside the White House repeating false claims that he had lost the election to Biden due to fraud.

Trump’s immediate resignation “is the best path forward”, Republican Senator Pat Toomey told CNN on January 10, adding: “That would be a very good outcome.”

Toomey said that since losing the November 3 vote, Trump had “descended into a level of madness and engaged in activity that was absolutely unthinkable and unforgivable”.

Lisa Murkowski of Alaska was the first Republican senator to demand Trump’s resignation, saying: “I want him out.” House Republicans, including Adam Kinzinger on January 10, have echoed that call.

The article of impeachment is set to charge Trump with inciting January 6’s violence, which left five people dead.

Hundreds of off-duty police on January 10 lined Constitution Avenue in Washington and saluted as a hearse rolled slowly by carrying the body of Brian Sicknick, the police officer who died in the attack on the Capitol.

Capitol security has been stepped up, with a seven-foot-tall (about 2m) black metal fence erected around the historic building. Extremists have threatened new action in coming days both in Washington and state capitals.

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