And Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who will be senate majority leader in the new Congress, has now called for the 25th Amendment to be invoked, adding in a statement: “If the Vice President and the Cabinet refuse to stand up, Congress should reconvene to impeach the president.”
The new articles of impeachment circulating among House Judiciary Democrats argue that Trump committed high crimes and misdemeanors and violated his oath to defend the Constitution and faithfully execute the office of the presidency by inciting Wednesday’s violence.
One draft being circulated, the Democratic aide tells me, says Trump is guilty of willfully inciting violence against the government of the United States. It notes that just before Congress convened to count the electoral votes, Trump reiterated false claims that he won the election and made statements that encouraged and predictably resulted in the lawless violence at the Capitol.
The mob that breached the Capitol, the draft continues, was incited by Trump and injured law enforcement, threatened members of Congress and disrupted their constitutional duty to count the votes.
The draft also cites a broad pattern in which Trump has tried to subvert and obstruct the counting of electoral votes, citing his pressure on the Georgia secretary of state to find votes to overturn the outcome after the voting and the state’s electors had been certified.
The draft continues that in doing all these things, Trump put the security of the United States and its governing institutions in danger and disrupted the peaceful transfer of power. It continues that Trump betrayed his trust as president and demonstrated that he will remain a continuing threat to our national security, the Constitution, and the rule of law and self governance.
Trump thus warrants impeachment, trial and removal, the draft concludes.
It’s likely that the final articles, if we do get them, would look like this draft, the aide tells me.
It’s not clear to me what sort of input Democratic leadership has into this process, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is set to address the press this afternoon. If she reiterates Schumer’s stance, which seems at least possible, that would be a significant tell.
The politics of impeachment inside the Judiciary Committee and the Democratic caucus are complicated. The aide tells me some members fear that impeachment might trigger another violent episode, while others think Trump’s incitement of violent insurrection simply must be met with a forceful congressional response, and that failure here would itself make more lawlessness and violence more likely.
Given the pressure that’s mounting from many stakeholders in society for some sort of action, it seems increasingly obvious that a failure by Congress to act would itself be substantially damaging. And it’s increasingly hard to envision.
Update: Pelosi just made her intentions known, and it appears Democrats are likely to move forward. She said this:
I join the Senate Democratic leader in calling on the Vice President to remove this president by immediately invoking the 25th amendment. If the vice president and the cabinet do not act, the Congress may be prepared to move forward with impeachment.
And Rep. David Cicilline, another member of the Judiciary Committee, just tweeted out a complete draft of impeachment articles.