Senators urge Trump to resign

  • Members of the National Guard stand inside anti-scaling fencing that surrounds the Capitol complex, Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alan Fram) Alan Fram

  • Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., speaks during a Congressional Oversight Commission hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday Dec. 10, 2020 (Alex Wong/Pool via AP) Alex Wong

  • An American flag flies above the White House in Washington, Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) Patrick Semansky

  • President Donald Trump gestures at a campaign rally in support of U.S. Senate candidates Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., and David Perdue in Dalton, Ga., Monday, Jan. 4, 2021. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson) Brynn Anderson

  • FILE - In this Jan. 3, 2017, file photo, Vice President Joe Biden, right, after administers the Senate oath of office to Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, as her husband Verne Martell holds a Bible, during a mock swearing in ceremony in the Old Senate Chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington as the 115th Congress begins. The oath, which normally doesn’t attract much attention, has become a common subject in the final days of the Trump presidency, being invoked by members of both parties as they met Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021 to affirm Biden's win and a pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol. Murkowski vowed to honor the oath she took and affirm the results of the presidential election while urging colleagues to do the same. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File) Alex Brandon

  • Congressman Hakeem Jeffries D-NY, third from right, speaks during a news conference at City Hall, Jan. 9, 2021, in New York. Members of New York's Congressional delegation and Mayor Bill de Blasio, second from right, called for swift impeachment of President Donald Trump following the violent siege of the U.S. Capitol by Trump supporters that left five dead. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews) Bebeto Matthews

  • An American flag flies above the White House in Washington, Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) Patrick Semansky

  • Anti-scaling fencing has been placed in front of the Supreme Court, which stands across the street from the U.S. Capitol, Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alan Fram) Alan Fram

Published: 1/10/2021 6:06:26 PM
Modified: 1/10/2021 6:06:06 PM

WASHINGTON — Two Republican senators now say President Donald Trump should resign in the wake of deadly riots at the Capitol and support for the House drive to impeach him a second time is gaining momentum.

Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey on Sunday joined Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski in calling for Trump to “resign and go away as soon as possible” after a violent mob of his supporters broke into the Capitol on Wednesday. Murkowski, who has long voiced her exasperation with Trump’s conduct in office, told the Anchorage Daily News on Friday that Trump simply “needs to get out.”

Toomey said even though he believes Trump committed impeachable offenses in encouraging loyalists in the Capitol siege, he did not think there was enough time for the impeachment process to play out.

Resignation, Toomey said, was the “best path forward, the best way to get this person in the rearview mirror for us.” The senator was not optimistic that Trump would step down before his term ends on Jan. 20.

House leaders, furious after the violent insurrection against them, appear determined to act despite the short timeline. Late Saturday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., sent a letter to her colleagues reiterating that Trump must be held accountable. She told her caucus, now scattered across the country on a two-week recess, to “be prepared to return to Washington this week” but did not say outright that there would be a vote on impeachment.

“It is absolutely essential that those who perpetrated the assault on our democracy be held accountable,” Pelosi wrote. “There must be a recognition that this desecration was instigated by the President.”

Rep. Jim Clyburn, the third-ranking House Democrat, said “it may be Tuesday, Wednesday before the action is taken, but I think it will be taken this week.”

Clyburn, D-S.C., a close ally of President-elect Joe Biden, suggested that if the House does vote to impeach, Pelosi might hold the charges — known as articles of impeachment — until after Biden’s first 100 days in office. Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, has said an impeachment trial could not begin before Inauguration Day, Jan. 20.

“Let’s give president-elect Biden the 100 days he needs to get his agenda off and running,” Clyburn said. “And maybe we will send the articles some time after that.”

Clyburn said lawmakers “will take the vote that we should take in the House” and that Pelosi “will make the determination as when is the best time” to send them to the Senate.

Another idea being considered is to have a separate vote that would prevent Trump from ever holding office again. That could potentially only need a simple majority vote of 51 senators, unlike impeachment, in which two-thirds of the 100-member Senate must support a conviction.

Toomey indicated that he might support such a vote: “I think the president has disqualified himself from ever certainly serving in office again,” he said. “I don’t think he is electable in any way.”

The Senate is set to be split evenly at 50-50, but under Democratic control once Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and the two Democrats who won in Georgia’s Senate runoff last week are sworn in. Harris will be the Senate’s tie-breaking vote.

While many have criticized Trump, Republicans have said that impeachment would be divisive in a time of unity.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said that instead of coming together, Democrats want to “talk about ridiculous things like ‘Let’s impeach a president’ who isn’t even going to be in office in about nine days.”

Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., said Trump’s actions “were clearly reckless,” but “my personal view is that the president touched the hot stove on Wednesday and is unlikely to touch it again.”

Still, some Republicans might be supportive.

Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse said he would take a look at any articles that the House sends over. Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger, a frequent Trump critic, said he will “vote the right way” if the matter is put in front of him. But, he said, “I honestly don’t think impeachment is the smart move because I think it victimizes Donald Trump again.”

The Democratic effort to stamp Trump’s presidential record — for the second time and days before his term ends — with the indelible mark of impeachment once more has advanced rapidly since the riot at the Capitol. Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I, a leader of the House effort to draft impeachment articles accusing Trump of inciting insurrection, said Saturday that his group had grown to include 185 co-sponsors.

Lawmakers planned to formally introduce the proposal on Monday in the House, where articles of impeachment must originate.

The articles, if passed by the House, could then be transmitted to the Senate for a trial, with senators acting as jurors who would ultimately vote on whether to acquit or convict Trump. If convicted, Trump would be removed from office and succeeded by the vice president. It would be the first time a U.S. president has been impeached twice.

Potentially complicating Pelosi’s decision about impeachment is what it means for Biden and the beginning of his presidency. While reiterating that he has long viewed Trump as unfit for office, Biden on Friday sidestepped a question about impeachment, saying what Congress does “is for them to decide.”

A violent and largely white mob of Trump supporters overpowered police, broke through security lines and windows and rampaged through the Capitol on Wednesday, forcing lawmakers to scatter as they were putting the final, formal touches on Biden’s victory over Trump in the Electoral College.

The crowd surged to the domed symbol of American democracy following a rally near the White House, where Trump repeated his bogus claims that the election was stolen from him and urged his supporters to march in force toward the Capitol.




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