Rep. Liz Cheney, the third-most-powerful Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives, announced Tuesday that she would be voting to impeach President Trump for his role in last week’s siege of the Capitol.
The Wyoming congresswoman issued a statement late Tuesday in which she said she would vote in favor of an article of impeachment introduced by Democrats that will be brought to a vote on Wednesday.
“The President of the United States summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack,” Cheney wrote in a statement. “Everything that followed was his doing. None of this would have happened without the President. The President could have immediately and forcefully intervened to stop the violence. 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.”
Democrats began calling for the president’s impeachment shortly after the Jan. 6 attack by Trump supporters on the Capitol halted the certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College win and resulted in the deaths of five people. So far, Cheney is the highest-ranking Republican to indicate she will join the effort to remove Trump from office.
“I will vote to impeach the President,” Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, said in her statement.
Cheney’s announcement came minutes after Rep. John Katko of New York became the first Republican in the House to state he would vote to impeach the president.
“It cannot be ignored that President Trump encouraged this insurrection — both on social media ahead of January 6th, and in his speech that day,” Katko wrote in a statement, adding, “To allow the President of the United States to incite this attack without consequence is a direct threat to the future of our democracy. For that reason, I cannot sit by without taking action. I will vote to impeach this President.”
Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois became the third Republican to announce he would be a yes vote shortly after Katko and Cheney, saying, “There is no doubt in my mind that the President of the United States broke his oath of office and incited this insurrection.”
Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan became the fourth Republican to say they’d vote for impeachment late Tuesday, releasing a statement in which he said he would have preferred a bipartisan censure but that “the Congress must hold President Trump to account and send a clear message that our country cannot and will not tolerate any effort by any President to impede the peaceful transfer of power from one President to the next.”
The fifth GOP Republican to announce their intention to vote for impeachment was Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington. In a statement released just before midnight in Washington, D.C., the congresswoman said, “The President’s offenses, in my reading of the Constitution, were impeachable based on the indisputable evidence we already have.”
No House Republicans voted against the president in December 2019 when he was impeached along party lines for soliciting foreign interference in the 2020 election. The New York Times reported Tuesday that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was pleased that this impeachment effort was moving forward, as he felt it would make it easier for the party to separate itself from Trump. The Times also reported that Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the highest-ranking House Republican, was soliciting advice on whether he should ask the president to resign.
Late Tuesday, Axios reported that there was “better than 50-50 chance” McConnell would vote to convict the president.
Trump has shown no remorse for his role in the violence on Jan. 6, on Tuesday morning calling his speech that immediately preceded the storming of the Capitol “totally appropriate.” In December, the president, on his now frozen Twitter account, urged supporters to come to Washington on Jan. 6, promising a “wild” time. He spoke for over an hour at the “March to Save America” rally prior to the assault on the Capitol, telling supporters, “You’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength, and you have to be strong.”
During the speech Trump also called for someone to primary Cheney, saying, “And we got to get rid of the weak congresspeople, the ones that aren’t any good, the Liz Cheneys of the world.”
“When you catch somebody in a fraud, you are allowed to go by very different rules,” Trump said, demanding that Vice President Mike Pence refuse to accept the Electoral College slates from several states that voted for Biden.
“If Mike Pence does the right thing, we win the election,” Trump said. Pence, who constitutional experts said had no choice in the matter, declined to follow Trump’s order.
Surging into the Capitol shortly after Trump finished speaking, a large group of his supporters broke into the building and chanted, “Hang Mike Pence!”
Hours later, as police attempted to clear the Capitol, Trump posted a video telling the rioters it was time to “go home.” He repeated his baseless claim that the election had been stolen from him and told the hundreds who had committed federal crimes that they were “very special” and “we love you.”
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