The House convened on Wednesday morning to open debate on whether to impeach President Trump for inciting a riot at the U.S. Capitol last week.
The single impeachment article accuses Trump of “incitement of insurrection.” On January 6, while Congress was certifying the results of the election, Trump called on a mob of his supporters to march to the Capitol while asserting that Democrats “stole” the election through widespread voter fraud.
The mob overwhelmed Capitol police and breached the building, forcing lawmakers to evacuate and injuring dozens of officers. One officer died as a result of injuries sustained while confronting rioters, and one rioter was shot and killed by police.
Wednesday marks the second time Congress has opened impeachment proceedings against the president. In September 2019, Democrats attempted to impeach Trump over his dealings in Ukraine. Just one Republican congressman, Senator Mitt Romney of Utah, voted in favor of impeachment at the time. Representative Justin Amash of Michigan, who had left the Republican party months earlier, also voted in favor of impeachment.
However, after the riots of January 6, several Republican House members are planning to vote in favor of impeachment.
House GOP leadership has decided not to lobby caucus members to vote against, and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) warned colleagues not to verbally accost members who support impeachment, saying it could endanger their lives.
“The President of the United States summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack….There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution,” Representative Liz Cheney (R., Wyo.) said on Tuesday. “I will vote to impeach the President.”
Other House Republicans who have publicly backed impeachment are Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, John Katko of New York, Fred Upton of Michigan, and Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington State. A number of freshman GOP lawmakers could also vote to impeach the president, including Peter Meijer of Michigan.
House Democrats initially indicated that they would not send the article directly to the Senate, however Democratic leadership may decide to send the resolution to the Senate next week, a source involved with the deliberations told CNN on Wednesday. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) is reportedly receptive to impeachment, believing Republicans can use the opportunity to purge Trump from the party.