GOP blocks House resolution calling on Pence to remove Trump

WASHINGTON, D.C. — House Republicans on Monday blocked Democrats from enacting a resolution calling on Vice President Mike Pence to use the 25th Amendment to remove President Donald Trump from office as Democrats forged ahead with plans to impeach the president, likely on Wednesday, for his role in inciting the riot at the U.S. Capitol.

Rep. Alex Mooney, R-W. Va., objected to the Democrats’ attempt to fast-track the resolution, meaning the House will reconvene Tuesday for a floor vote on the measure. Mooney, in a statement, said he opposed enacting the measure without any debate but didn’t say whether he opposed the idea of trying to remove the president.

The House resolution, drafted by Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., is the first step in the Democrats’ attempt to remove Trump from office just days before his term ends.

Though the resolution does not bind Pence, Democrats hope it will ramp up pressure on the vice president and House Republicans to take action following last Wednesday’s Capitol attack by Trump supporters, who raided the building and forced lawmakers and Pence into hiding for their safety. The attack, which left five people dead, also delayed Congress’ formal counting of the electoral votes for President-elect Joe Biden.

“We have a president who most of us believe participated in encouraging an insurrection and attack on this building, and on democracy, and tried to subvert the counting of the presidential ballot,” said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md.

The 25th Amendment lays out the procedure for removing a president who is unfit or incapacitated. The House resolution calls on Pence and Trump’s Cabinet to use the amendment “to declare what is obvious to a horrified nation: That the president is unable to successfully discharge the duties and powers of his office.”

If Pence does not invoke the amendment, Democrats are planning to hold a vote to impeach Trump. It would be the second impeachment of Trump, following one in 2019 over his pressuring of Ukrainian government officials to investigate then-presidential rival Biden. No American president has ever been impeached twice.

So far, Pence and other Cabinet officials have shown little appetite for forcibly removing Trump.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on Sunday gave Pence an ultimatum: He would have 24 hours to act after passage of the resolution, after which “we will proceed with bringing impeachment legislation to the floor.”

The article of impeachment introduced Monday by Raskin and Democratic Reps. David Cicilline of Rhode Island and Ted Lieu of California has only one charge: “incitement of insurrection.”

“Donald John Trump engaged in high crimes and misdemeanors by willfully inciting violence against the government of the United States,” the article reads. “He threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power, and imperiled a coordinate branch of government. He thereby betrayed his trust as president, to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.”

With 213 Democratic House members signing on as co-sponsors of the article already and more promising to vote for it, impeachment is assured. “We now have the votes to impeach,” Cicilline said on Twitter.

The Democrats’ attempt to remove Trump will force House Republicans to make the choice between continuing to back a president they have almost universally supported for four years , or breaking with him during his last days in office.

A handful of GOP members, including Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., have indicated they’re open to considering efforts to remove the president from office. But others have blasted the Democrats’ effort as divisive.

“We must come together to heal our nation, but House Democrats’ latest attempts to remove the president from office will further divide us,” said Rep. Tom Emmer, R-Minn., chairman of the House Republican campaign arm. “It is a politically motivated effort by Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats that will fracture our nation even more instead of bringing us together.”