At least four Republicans said on Tuesday they would join Democrats in voting to impeach President Donald Trump over the attack on the US Capitol, as Vice President Mike Pence rejected calls to use a constitutional maneuver to oust him.
With eight days remaining in Trump’s term in office, the House of Representatives was poised on Wednesday to pass an article of impeachment accusing the Republican of inciting insurrection in a speech to his followers last week before a mob of them stormed the Capitol, leaving five dead.
That would trigger a trial in the still Republican-controlled Senate, although it was unclear if enough time or political appetite remained to push Trump from office.
Even as the Democratic-led House debated a resolution that urged Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment of the US Constitution to expel Trump from office, Pence sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that said he would not comply.
“I do not believe that such a course of action is in the best interest of our Nation or consistent with our Constitution,” Pence said. Despite the letter, the House moved forward on Tuesday with a vote on the resolution after it cleared a procedural hurdle.
At the same time, Trump’s iron grip on his party was showing further signs of weakening as at least four Republicans, including a member of the House leadership, said they would vote for his historic second impeachment.
Liz Cheney, the No. 3 House Republican, said: “There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.”
Trump “summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack” on the Capitol last Wednesday, Cheney, the daughter of former Republican Vice President Dick Cheney, said in a statement, adding: “I will vote to impeach the president.”Three other Republican House members, John Katko, Adam Kinzinger and Fred Upton, said they would also vote for impeachment.
Their announcements came as Republican leaders in the House refrained from urging their members to vote against impeaching Trump, saying it was a matter of individual conscience.