© Reuters. A protester holds up posters near the United States Capitol in Washington
By David Morgan and James Oliphant WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A week after supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol, the U.S. House of Representatives will vote Wednesday to impeach the president for his role in an assault to the American democracy that astonished the nation and left five dead. At least five Republicans have said they would join Democrats in impeaching Trump a second time, just seven days before he leaves office and President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in on January 20. A House majority vote to impeach would trigger a trial in the still Republican-controlled Senate, although it was unclear if such a trial would take place in time to oust Trump from the White House. Democrats advanced in an impeachment vote after Vice President Mike Pence rejected an effort to persuade him to invoke the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to impeach Trump. “I do not believe that course of action is in the best interest of our nation or is consistent with our Constitution,” Pence said in a letter Tuesday night to Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi. Despite the letter, the House passed a resolution Tuesday night formally asking Pence to act. The final vote was 223-205 in favor. As the House prepared for the impeachment vote Wednesday, there were signs that Trump’s once dominant grip on the Republican Party was beginning to wane. At least five House Republicans, including Liz Cheney, a member of his party’s leadership team, said they would vote for his second impeachment, a prospect no president before Trump has faced. “There has never been a greater betrayal by a presiding US president and his oath to the Constitution,” Cheney, daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, said in a statement. Trump “summoned this mob, rallied the mob, and lit the flame of this attack” on Capitol Hill, he said. Four other Republican members of the House, Jaime Herrera Beutler, John Katko, Adam Kinzinger and Fred Upton, also said they supported impeachment. 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. The New York Times reported that the Republican Majority Leader of the United States Senate, Mitch McConnell, was said to be pleased with the impetus of the impeachment, another sign that Trump’s party is looking to quit after the attack on Congress . ‘TOTALLY APPROPRIATE’ In his first public appearance since last Wednesday’s riots, Trump showed no regret on Tuesday for his speech last week in which he asked supporters to protest Biden’s victory by marching to the Capitol. “What I said was totally appropriate,” Trump told reporters. In a meeting to set the rules for the impeachment vote Wednesday, Democratic Rep. David Cicilline told the House Rules Committee that the impeachment campaign had the support of 217 lawmakers, enough to impeach Trump. Cicilline, who helped craft the impeachment measure, said Trump “has had almost a week to do the right thing. He has refused to resign, he has not taken responsibility, he has not shown any remorse.” House Republicans who opposed the impeachment campaign argued that Democrats were going too far, as Trump was about to leave office. “This is scary where this is going, because it’s about more than indicting the president of the United States. It’s about canceling the president and canceling all the people you disagree with,” said Republican Rep. Jim Jordan. , one of Trump’s top allies when the president was indicted in 2019 after encouraging the Ukrainian government to unearth the political dirt on Biden. Pelosi on Tuesday appointed nine impeachment managers who would present the House case for the impeachment during a Senate trial. It was not clear how quickly such a trial would take place. McConnell has said no trial could begin until the chamber returns from its recess on January 19. But Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who will become the majority leader after two Georgia Democrats are seated and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris is sworn in, said Senate reporters could n be called in to handle the matter. If Trump is indicted by the House, he would have a trial in the Senate to determine his guilt. A two-thirds majority of the Senate is needed to convict him, meaning that at least 17 Republicans in the 100-member chamber would have to vote in favor of the conviction. Democrats could also use impeachment to push for a vote preventing Trump from running again for office. Instead of two-thirds of the votes, a simple majority in the Senate is needed to disqualify Trump from future office. There is disagreement among legal experts on whether a conviction on a charge would be needed before a disqualification vote. A different part of the Constitution, the Fourteenth Amendment, also provides a procedure to disqualify Trump from future office with a simple majority of both houses.