9/9 © Reuters. Members of the National Guard gather at the United States Capitol in Washington 2/9
By David Morgan and Richard Cowan WASHINGTON (Reuters) – As the U.S. House of Representatives approached a vote Wednesday to impeach President Donald Trump, Republican leaders in the Senate weighed whether to launch a trial Friday to consider removing him from office. his position, a source familiar with the deliberations, said, although a final decision has not been reached. With just one week remaining in Trump’s tumultuous four-year term, an immediate trial could allow the Senate to vote whether to remove him before he leaves the White House and Democratic President-elect Joe Biden takes office on January 20. The discussions took place as the Democrat-controlled House moved toward impeachment of the president for his role in the siege of the U.S. Capitol last week, when Trump supporters breached the security of the building, sending lawmakers fleeing. and they left five dead in their wake, including a police officer. Just after noon (1700 GMT), the House majority passed a procedural measure that clears the way for a vote, expected later in the day, on a single article of impeachment that formally accuses Trump of inciting the insurrection in a speech shortly before the riots. “The president of the United States instigated an attempted coup in this country,” said Democratic Representative Jim McGovern in the House. “If this is not a chargeable crime, I don’t know what the hell it is.” Some Republicans made speeches urging the House not to impeach Trump in the interest of promoting national healing. Lawmakers remained nervous after last week’s violence, and large numbers of National Guard soldiers wearing work uniforms and carrying rifles were posted outside and inside the building. If the House passes, Trump, who is already one of three presidents to be impeached, would become the first president to see it happen twice. Under the United States Constitution, impeachment in the House of Representatives triggers a trial in the Senate. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had previously suggested that no trials could begin until the Senate was scheduled to return to regular session on January 19, just one day before Democratic President-elect Joe Biden take possession. Democrats, including the Senate. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has lobbied McConnell to agree to have the Senate return earlier in emergency circumstances, and the source noted that the Senate has already scheduled a “prof forma” session that is normally short on Friday. The New York Times reported that McConnell is said to be pleased with the House impeachment push. If Trump is impeached, it takes a two-thirds majority of the Republican-led Senate to convict him, meaning that at least 17 Republicans in the 100-member chamber would have to find him guilty. Trump’s actions have weakened his tight grip on his party. While no Republican Senate has said they would vote to convict, two, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, called on Trump to step down. At least five House Republicans, including Liz Cheney, a member of his party’s leadership team, said they would vote for impeachment. ‘TRIAL COUP’ The House met in the same chamber where lawmakers hid under chairs and donned gas masks last Wednesday when rioters clashed with police in the halls of Capitol Hill, after Trump in a Incendiary speech urged his supporters to march toward the building. In a break with standard procedure, Republican leaders in the House have refrained from urging their members to vote against impeachment of Trump, saying it was a matter of individual conscience. “Rather than moving forward as a unifying force, the majority in the House is choosing to divide us further,” Oklahoma Republican Tom Cole said in the House. “Let’s look forward, not back. Let’s unite, let’s not part. Let’s celebrate the peaceful transition of power to a new president rather than impeach an old president.” Cole was one of 139 House Republicans who voted against certifying the results of the November 3 presidential election on January 6, hours after the violence, after the Republican president repeated his false claims of widespread electoral fraud. Other Republicans argued that Democrats were quick to pass judgments for political reasons and called for the creation of a commission to study the events surrounding the siege as an alternative. If Trump is removed from office, Vice President Mike Pence would become president and complete his term. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, the second Democrat, said Democrats intended to send the impeachment charge, once passed, to the Senate “as soon as possible,” and the president of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, appointed nine impeachment managers who would present the House case during a Senate trial. Hoyer told reporters he expected 10-20 House Republicans to vote for impeachment on Wednesday. Washington is on high alert ahead of Biden’s inauguration. Democrats advanced in an impeachment vote after Pence rejected an effort to persuade him to invoke the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to impeach Trump. The House previously voted to impeach Trump in December 2019 on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress stemming from his request that Ukraine investigate Biden and his son Hunter ahead of the election, as Democrats accused him of soliciting interference. foreign to defame a national policy. rival. The Republican-led Senate in February 2020 voted to keep Trump in office. Wednesday’s impeachment article accused Trump of “inciting insurrection” and said he sparked violence against the US government in a speech to thousands of supporters near the White House shortly before the Capitol siege. The article also cited Trump’s Jan. 2 phone call asking a Georgia official to “find” votes to overturn Biden’s victory in the state. In his first public appearance since last Wednesday’s riot, Trump showed no regret Tuesday for his speech shortly before the siege. “What I said was totally appropriate,” Trump told reporters. Democrats could also use impeachment to push for a vote preventing Trump from running again for office. It only takes a simple majority in the Senate to disqualify Trump from future office, but there is disagreement among legal experts on whether an impeachment conviction is required first.