President Donald Trump is staring straight at the second impeachment of his one-term presidency. Democratic leaders have scheduled consideration of a single article of impeachment for the House floor on Wednesday, exactly one week after a pro-Trump mob took control of the Capitol.
Democrats say they have the votes to impeach.
During a pro forma session on Monday, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer attempted to pass, by unanimous consent, a resolution authored by Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin that called on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment and assume the powers of acting president. West Virginia Rep. Alex Mooney, a Republican, objected, so the full House plans to vote on that resolution on Tuesday night.
But with Pence having not invoked the 25th Amendment yet and appearing unlikely to do so at House Democrats’ formal urging, the House intends to reconvene at 9 a.m. the next morning to consider impeachment.
The four-page impeachment article, introduced on Monday, charges Trump with “incitement of insurrection.” It is mostly focused on the events of Jan. 6, with a little throat-clearing on the timeline of Trump’s false “stolen election” narrative between Election Day and then. It only spells out, explicitly, one of his “prior efforts to subvert and obstruct the certification of the results of the 2020 Presidential election”: his Jan. 2 phone call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger urging him “to ‘find’ enough votes to overturn the Georgia presidential election results.”
“Donald John Trump,” the impeachment resolution concludes, “thus warrants impeachment and trial, removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States.”
At the time of its introduction, the resolution had more than 210 Democratic co-sponsors. It may get some Republican votes, too. Politico reported that “as many as 10 House Republicans” are considering supporting it, including the No. 3 House Republican, Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney.
But most of the House Republican conference—a majority of which voted last week, following a deadly siege of the seat of government, to support the besiegers’ demands and reject duly won Biden electors on made-up grounds—maintains that impeachment at this time would only divide the country.
If the House does impeach Trump on Wednesday, there’s still the question of when to send the article to the Senate for trial. Some members are concerned about hamstringing the Biden administration’s agenda—both legislatively and in terms of confirming his Cabinet nominees—just after his inauguration, by leaving the Senate with an impeachment trial for an ex-president on its lap. House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn said on CNN over the weekend that the prudent move might be to “give President-elect Biden the 100 days he needs to get his agenda off and running, and maybe we will send the articles some time after that.” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, though, told reporters that he would want to send the article to the Senate immediately. Under Senate procedure, consideration of impeachment articles becomes the immediate business of the chamber as soon as the paperwork is received from the House, and the trial stays in session, six day per week, until it’s concluded.
Biden, on Monday, questioned whether the Senate could come to an agreement to split the business up. “Can you go [a] half-day on dealing with the impeachment,” he told reporters, “and a half-day getting my people nominated and confirmed in the Senate?”
The president, meanwhile, is reportedly not happy with the impeachment push but is more upset with the PGA of America stripping his New Jersey golf club of the 2022 PGA Championship, golf’s least important major championship.