Ocasio-Cortez Urges Swift Trump Impeachment: Congress Update
(Bloomberg) -- House Democrats are considering filing articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump if his cabinet doesn’t remove him from office by invoking the 25th Amendment. Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski called on Trump to resign before Joe Biden is sworn in on Jan. 20
Several Senate Democrats said Republican senators Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley should step down after they led objections to the Electoral College vote count that was the target of mob violence on Wednesday.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she has spoken with the senior-most U.S. military official about Trump and the safety of nuclear codes in his remaining days in office.
Ocasio-Cortez Urges Swift Trump Impeachment (6:32 p.m.)
Progressive Democrats known as the Squad are urging Congressional leaders to act on impeachment as soon as possible to remove Trump from office before Jan. 20. In a letter to Democratic and Republican leaders in the House and Senate, the group said Congress should reconvene immediately to begin the process.
“We cannot risk keeping Donald Trump in office any longer,” the lawmakers say in the letter. “President Trump has failed to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States by refusing to accept the results of our fair and free election, and worse, by inciting his supporters to attack our Capitol.”
After Friday’s conference call with House Democrats, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, a member of the Squad, tweeted that articles would be introduced on Monday and emphasized her request for the House leadership to proceed swiftly.
“Our Squad urged House leadership to move quickly to impeach this President,” she tweeted. “Unfortunately, our country does not have the luxury of time.”
The letter was signed by Ocasio-Cortez along with Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, as well as by first-year members Cori Bush of Missouri and Jamaal Bowman of New York. --Jarrell Dillard
Wyden Joins Calls for Cruz, Hawley to Step Down (5:08 p.m.)
Oregon Senator Ron Wyden became the third Democrat to call for Cruz and Hawley to resign, after the two Republicans led Senate objections to Wednesday’s counting of the Electoral College vote.
“Any senator exhorting such an assault violates their sworn oath and is unworthy of holding federal office. There must be consequences for senators who would foment a violent mob for personal gain,“ Wyden said in a statement Friday. “I call on Senators Hawley and Cruz to resign and accept the responsibility which they so clearly bear.”
A spokesperson for Cruz said the Texas senator “immediately condemned this terrorist attack and called for anyone who stormed the Capitol to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
GOP Senator Murkowski Calls on Trump to Resign (4:48 p.m.)
Murkowski, of Alaska, said Trump should resign after his supporters invaded the U.S. Capitol, and she doesn’t know if she can remain a Republican if the party doesn’t split with Trump.
In an interview with the Anchorage Daily News, Murkowski said Trump has “caused enough damage,” both ignoring the coronavirus pandemic and betraying those who have been loyal to him. She blamed the president for inciting Wednesday’s violent mob.
Senate Democrats Say Cruz, Hawley Should Resign (2:14 p.m.)
Senator Patty Murray of Washington, a top Democratic leader, called on GOP senators Ted Cruz of Texas and Josh Hawley of Missouri to resign, saying they contributed to the climate that spurred Wednesday’s mob attacks at the Capitol.
“Any senator who stands up and supports the power of force over the power of democracy has broken their oath of office,” said Murray, who is also is the incoming chairman of the Senate health panel. “Senators Hawley and Cruz should resign.”
Her comments reflect a growing backlash against both senators, who led Senate objections to the Electoral College vote count for key states that Biden won. Both senators were among the Republicans who voted to reject the certified results from Arizona and Pennsylvania, even after pro-Trump supporters tore through the Capitol after being egged on by Trump. The objections failed in the Senate before also being rejected in the House.
Delaware Democratic Senator Chris Coons, a close Biden ally, also earlier called for Cruz and Hawley to resign.
GOP’s McCarthy Plans to Speak to Biden on Unity (1:28 p.m.)
McCarthy said Friday he plans to speak with Biden about how to heal the country and move forward after Trump supporters attacked the Capitol Wednesday. McCarthy said any effort by House Democrats to impeach Trump would exacerbate divisions.
“Impeaching the President with just 12 days left in his term will only divide our country more,” McCarthy said. “I have reached out to President-elect Biden today and plan to speak to him about how we must work together to lower the temperature and unite the country to solve America’s challenges.”
McCarthy listed some challenges facing the incoming Biden administration, including deep political divisions, the coronavirus pandemic and threats from Russia, China and Iran.
“To deliver a better America for all, partisans of all stripes first must unite as Americans and show our country that a peaceful transition of power has occurred,” McCarthy said.
Pelosi Speaks with Milley on Nuclear Safety and Trump (11:52 a.m.)
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi alerted fellow Democrats that she is concerned that an “unhinged” President Donald Trump would access nuclear launch codes and order a military strike, and wants Pentagon officials to take precautions.
Pelosi said she spoke with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley about “available precautions for preventing an unstable president from initiating military hostilities or accessing the launch codes and ordering a nuclear strike” in his remaining days in office.
Pelosi also said in a letter to colleagues that Congress will try to remove Trump from office if his cabinet doesn’t act.
“Today, following the President’s dangerous and seditious acts, Republicans in Congress need to follow that example and call on Trump to depart his office – immediately,” Pelosi said. “If the President does not leave office imminently and willingly, the Congress will proceed with our action.” -- Billy House
Hearings to Examine Security Failures at Capitol (11:05 a.m.)
Two Senate panels will hold a joint oversight hearing on the storming of the Capitol Wednesday by pro-Trump demonstrators.
The Senate Homeland Security and Rules Committees will conduct the proceeding to examine “security failures” at the Capitol during the counting of Electoral College votes. The statement announcing the hearings came from the Democratic and Republican leaders of the committees.
“Wednesday’s violent and criminal acts directed at our Capitol, a symbol of American Democracy, will forever be a stain on our nation’s history,” said Senators Gary Peters, Rob Portman, Amy Klobuchar and Roy Blunt. “Due to the heroic acts of many, the perpetrators of this attack failed to achieve their goal. It is our duty as bipartisan leaders of the Senate committees with jurisdiction over homeland security, oversight and Capitol operations to examine the security failures that led to Wednesday’s attack.”
Peters, a Democrat from Michigan, is the incoming chairman of the Homeland Security Committee. Klobuchar, a Democrat from Minnesota, will head the Rules Committee. Republicans Portman and Blunt are set to be the ranking members of the two panels. -- Daniel Flatley
Lawmakers Mourn Slain Capitol Police Officer (9:52 a.m.)
Pelosi ordered flags at the Capitol to fly at half-staff after the death of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who was fatally injured during Wednesday’s violence.
House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy said in a statement mourning Sicknick’s passing, “Congress will provide the full resources needed to bring every perpetrator of Wednesday’s attack to justice.”
GOP Senator Says Would ‘Definitely Consider’ Impeachment Articles (9:31 a.m.)
Republican Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska said he would “definitely consider” potential Articles of Impeachment brought by the House against Trump.
“I believe the president has disregarded his oath of office,” Sasse said on CBS Friday. “He swore an oath to the American people to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution. He acted against that. What he did was wicked.”
House Official Says Bid to Impeach Trump Likely (8:09 a.m.)
Assistant House Speaker Katherine Clark, a Massachusetts Democrat, said the chamber will move forward with impeaching Trump if his vice president and cabinet do not deem him unable to carry out his duties and remove him from office under the 25th Amendment.
“If the reports are correct and Mike Pence is not going to uphold his oath of office and remove the president and help protect our democracy,” Clark told CNN Friday, “then we will move forward with impeachment to do just that.”
She and Representative Jim Clyburn, a senior House Democrat, said the process could start within a week.
Pelosi and House Democrats will hold a noon conference call Friday to talk about their options for expelling Trump from office. Many caucus members seem bent on impeaching him if the 25th Amendment is not triggered, but few days are left before Trump leaves office, leaving little time for any impeachment hearings and a Senate impeachment trial. --Elizabeth Wasserman
Capitol Police Officer Dies (12:10 a.m.)
A U.S. Capitol Police officer has died of injuries he sustained when Trump supporters broke into the Capitol on Wednesday afternoon.
The officer, Brian Sicknick, who joined the force in 2008, was hurt “while physically engaging with protesters,” according to a department statement. “He returned to his division office and collapsed. He was taken to a local hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.”
The department added in the statement that the death would be investigated by the District of Columbia’s Metropolitan Police Department. Sicknick was the fifth person who died in connection to the storming of the Capitol. Earlier in the day, the chief of the Capitol Police, Steven Sund, resigned. His last day will be on Jan. 16, according to a department official. -- Billy House
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