UPDATE: Kuster, Pappas, Hassan and Shaheen support impeachment of Trump after Washington riots

  • Rep. Annie Kuster, D-N.H., and others shelter in the House gallery as protesters try to break into the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) Andrew Harnik

Monitor staff
Published: 1/7/2021 3:40:27 PM

All four of New Hampshire’s Congressional representatives came out in favor of removing President Donald Trump from office on Thursday, joining House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Chuck Schumer after a day of violence in the Capitol. 

In separate statements, Reps. Annie Kuster and Chris Pappas called for Vice President Mike Pence and the cabinet to use the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office. Barring that, the two Democrats said they would support impeaching the president in the House.

“As long as President Trump is in the Oval Office, the people of this country — and our very democracy — are at risk,” Kuster said in a statement Thursday afternoon. “This man demonstrates a clear inability to discharge the duties of his office and he should be removed immediately.”

Pappas echoed the call, saying Trump “should not serve one more day in office.”Both statements cited the unrest Wednesday that saw supporters of Trump storm the Capitol and prompt evacuations of lawmakers present to vote to certify the results of the presidential elections. Trump had called his supporters to Washington for a rally on that event, and had directed them to march on the U.S. Capitol building during a speech Wednesday afternoon. Democrats argue that the speech, as well as previous remarks by the president denying the results of the election, amounted to incitement.

“What we witnessed yesterday should chill Americans to their core,” Pappas said. “Riotous, armed mobs overcame law enforcement and stormed the Capitol, and they attempted to derail American democracy. They did this after being incited and instructed by President Donald J. Trump.”

Hassan and Shaheen made their own remarks calling for Trump’s ouster. On a Zoom call, Hassan called Trump “unfit” and said that he should be removed from his position "as quickly as possible or resign,” Fosters Daily Democrat reported.

And Shaheen said the same.

“Donald Trump is unfit for office,” she wrote on Twitter I believed that last year when I voted for impeachment and I believe it now.” 

The statements line up with the urgings of Democrats Pelosi and Sen. Chuck Schumer, both of whom said Thursday afternoon that Pence should set in motion the 25th Amendment, which allows the vice president and a majority of the president’s cabinet to remove a president from office if they are deemed unfit for office. Congress can also create a body to assess the president’s fitness.

But that process is unlikely to move ahead. And even if it did, Trump could contest the process via a letter to Congress, which would require a two-thirds vote for Congress to override it.

An impeachment attempt is similarly far-fetched; Trump’s term expires Jan. 20; impeachment proceedings usually take weeks. But with new election results in Georgia paving the way for a Democratically controlled U.S. Senate, Democrats now control both chambers, which could increase the prospects for success.

Both New Hampshire’s senators voted to convict Trump when his impeachment case reached the Senate in early February. Speaking at a Zoom forum with the New England Council Thursday afternoon, Hassan brought up points in favor of impeachment again. 

“I think that there are people who in very good faith and seriousness are thinking about the potential of Donald Trump running for office again, and that it would be very good to shortcut that possibility,” Hassan said. “Because impeachment allows you to not only remove someone from office but to prevent them from serving in federal office again.”

But Hassan also said she was not sure if it was feasible – particularly as Congress continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Both Hassan and Shaheen signed onto a bipartisan statement Wednesday evening condemning the violence in Washngton, labeling the behavior “entirely un-American” and calling on the people involved to be prosecuted.

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