A growing chorus of congressional Republicans announced their support for the impeachment of President Donald Trump on Tuesday, a remarkable turn for a party that has been marching in lockstep with Trump for years.
The shift came less than a week after a mob of violent insurrectionists stormed the U.S. Capitol, vandalizing the halls of Congress and killing a Capitol Police officer. The president had fanned those flames for months, spreading lies about the 2020 election and his eventual loss to President-elect Joe Biden. On the day of the Capitol attack, he told the rioters that he loved them and they were “very special.”
The GOP dam broke on Tuesday when Rep. John Katko of New York said he’d vote to impeach the president. Then, Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the No. 3 Republican in the House, issued a stark statement saying that she, too, would vote to impeach because of Trump’s direct role in inciting the riot.
“A violent mob attacked the United States Capitol to obstruct the process of our democracy and stop the counting of presidential electoral votes,” Cheney said on Tuesday. “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.”
House Democrats plan to vote Wednesday on a single article of impeachment accusing Trump of inciting violence against the U.S. government.
Republican support for some type of penalty has reached the highest levels of the GOP.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has reportedly told those close to him that he is pleased with Democratic efforts to impeach Trump and that he believes the president committed impeachable offenses, The New York Times reported Tuesday, although he has not made any public statements on the matter. The newspaper added that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) is opposed to impeachment himself but would not lobby members to vote against it and has asked those close to him if he should call on the president to resign.
Some lawmakers, including GOP Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, said on Tuesday that they would instead move to censure Trump “for attempting to unlawfully overturn the 2020 Presidential election and for violating his oath of office on January 6th, 2021.” A censure is a formalized statement of condemnation in Congress, in one or both chambers, although it would not otherwise penalize the president in any way.
Here’s a list of Republican lawmakers who have voiced their support for impeachment:
Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.)
Katko said Tuesday that Trump must be held to account for his role in the insurrection, declaring that lawmakers have a duty to protect American democracy.
“To allow the president of the United States to incite this attack without consequence is a direct threat to the future of our democracy,” Katko said in a statement. “For that reason, I cannot sit by without taking action. I will vote to impeach this president.”
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.)
Cheney said that no president had committed a greater betrayal against the nation than Trump.
“The president could have immediately and forcefully intervened to stop the violence,” she said. “He did not. There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.”
Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.)
Kinzinger said that the country was in “uncharted waters” but that he believed Trump had used his position to attack Congress.
“There is no doubt in my mind that the President of the United States broke his oath of office and incited this insurrection,” said Kinzinger. “If these actions … are not worthy of impeachment, then what is an impeachable offense? I will vote in favor of impeachment.”
Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.)
CNN and the Detroit News both reported Tuesday evening that Upton would vote to impeach the president, citing a spokesperson. The lawmaker is the dean of Michigan’s congressional delegation.
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