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U.S. House moving toward beginning impeachment proceedings against Trump

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Delphine Luneau | The Center Square

(The Center Square) – House Democrats could begin formal impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump next week, seeking again to initiate the process to remove him from office, this time during the final two weeks of his term in office.

Multiple media outlets were reporting Friday afternoon that U.S. Reps. Jamie Raskin, D-Md.; Ted Lieu, D-Calif.; and David Cicilline, D-R.I., had drafted a single article of impeachment against Trump over the events that led to Wednesday’s violent incursion of the U.S. Capitol, which led to five deaths.

According to a four-page draft of the impeachment resolution, the president would be accused of “high crimes and misdemeanors” that would necessitate his removal from office.

The resolution points to Trump’s remarks during a rally near the White House on Wednesday at which he exhorted his supporters to go to the Capitol and register their displeasure over the imminent votes to certify the Electoral College results formally making Joe Biden the president-elect.

“He … willfully made statements that encouraged – and foreseeably resulted in – imminent lawless action at the Capitol,” the resolution reads. “Incited by President Trump, a mob unlawfully breached the Capitol, injured law enforcement personnel, menaced Members of Congress and the Vice President, interfered with the Joint Session’s solemn constitutional duty to certify election results, and engaged in violent, deadly, destructive, and seditious acts.”

NBC News was among the outlets reporting that Raskin, Lieu and Cicilline intend to introduce the resolution Monday.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in a letter to the House of Representatives on Friday, indicated that impeachment proceedings would move forward unless the president resigns “immediately.”

She noted Republicans had called for the resignation of former President Richard Nixon after the Watergate scandal, and she said they need to do so again.

“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,” she wrote, according to The New York Times. “If the president does not leave office imminently and willingly, the Congress will proceed with our action.”

If the House does impeach Trump, he would become the first U.S. president to be impeached twice. The Democrat-controlled House voted to approve three articles of impeachment against him in December 2019, but the Republican-controlled Senate acquitted him of all three charges in February 2020.

Biden hasn’t endorsed the idea of impeaching the president, saying Friday it was a “judgment for the Congress to make,” according to Politico.

The White House, in a statement, argued a move toward impeachment would be a futile effort.

"As President Trump said yesterday, this is a time for healing and unity as one Nation," the statement read. "A politically motivated impeachment against a President with 12 days remaining in his term will only serve to further divide our great country."