This week: Democrats barrel toward Trump impeachment after Capitol attack
© Getty/Bonnie Cash

House Democrats are driving toward impeaching President TrumpDonald TrumpVeteran accused in alleged border wall scheme faces new charges Arizona Republicans to brush off DOJ concern about election audit FEC drops investigation into Trump hush money payments MORE for a second time after supporters of the president sacked the Capitol.

Tensions are running high as lawmakers prepare to return to a tumultuous, frayed Washington just days after a violent mob breached the Capitol, forcing lawmakers to go into lockdown and resulting in the deaths of five people. 

The House and Senate had been expected to leave town until Jan. 19, a day before President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenAtlanta mayor won't run for reelection South Carolina governor to end pandemic unemployment benefits in June Airplane pollution set to soar with post-pandemic travel boom MORE is sworn in. But the House is poised to return this week as lawmakers itch to respond to Trump, who encouraged his supporters to march on the Capitol as Vice President Pence and lawmakers were formally tallying Biden’s Electoral College win. 

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House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOn The Money: Weekly jobless claims fall to 498K, hitting new post-lockdown low | House to advance appropriations bills in June, July Rural Democrats urge protections from tax increases for family farms Cheney fight stokes cries of GOP double standard for women MORE (D-Calif.) laid out the path forward for Democrats in a “Dear Colleague” letter on Sunday night. 

“In protecting our Constitution and our Democracy, we will act with urgency, because this President represents an imminent threat to both,” Pelosi wrote. “As the days go by, the horror of the ongoing assault on our democracy perpetrated by this President is intensified and so is the immediate need for action.” 

Pelosi, who was personally targeted by some members of the pro-Trump mob in Wednesday’s insurrection, said Democrats will try to adopt Maryland Democratic Rep. Jamie RaskinJamin (Jamie) Ben RaskinSix House Democrats ask Garland to review case of lawyer placed under house arrest over Chevron suit Democrats seek to keep spotlight on Capitol siege Congress and the administration cannot play games with the Congressional Review Act MORE’s 25th Amendment resolution on Monday by unanimous consent — a gambit sure to be blocked by Trump’s conservative allies. 

If that fails, Democrats will bring it to the floor on Tuesday as they try to push for Pence, who was also a target for the rioters, to respond within 24 hours. Democrats, and some Republicans, are supportive of Pence invoking the 25th Amendment, which would allow the VP and a majority of the Cabinet to sideline Trump. 

Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerHow to fast-track climate action? EPA cutting super pollutant HFCs On The Money: How demand is outstripping supply and hampering recovery | Montana pulls back jobless benefits | Yellen says higher rates may be necessary Senate Democrats announce B clean bus plan MORE (D-N.Y.) called Pence to discuss the issue late last week, where Schumer said they were put on hold for more than 20 minutes. They ultimately didn’t connect with Pence. 

Pelosi didn’t say in her letter when the House would vote on impeaching Trump, but aides are expecting a vote as soon as Wednesday, likely on a single article. Language drafted by Reps. Raskin, David CicillineDavid CicillineRepublicans float support for antitrust reform after Trump Facebook ban upheld Washington keeps close eye as Apple antitrust fight goes to court Hillicon Valley: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube execs to testify at Senate hearing on algorithms | Five big players to watch in Big Tech's antitrust fight MORE (R.I.) and Ted LieuTed W. LieuLawmakers praise Biden for expected recognition of Armenian Genocide Overnight Defense: Top Pentagon nominee advances after Harris casts tie-breaker | Air Force general charged with sexual assault first to face court-martial | House passes bill to limit Saudi arms sales Lieu to Greene and Gosar: 'Take your nativist crap and shove it' MORE (Calif.) charges Trump with high crimes and misdemeanors for “willfully inciting violence against the Government of the United States.” 

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Trump would be the first president to be impeached more than once. 

As of late Sunday afternoon Cicilline said he had 210 co-sponsors. 

If the House votes to impeach Trump — which would mark the second time of his presidency — when Democrats would send the articles to the Senate is unclear, and could have implications for how quickly Congress can act on Biden’s agenda. 

Outgoing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell: Taliban could take over Afghanistan by 'the end of the year' McConnell alma mater criticizes him for 1619 comments McConnell amid Trump criticism: 'I'm looking forward, not backward' MORE (R-Ky.) warned in a memo to lawmakers over the weekend that an impeachment trial is unlikely to start before Biden is sworn in, meaning a trial could bog down the ability to confirm Biden’s Cabinet and take up other early legislation. 

Biden hasn’t weighed in on the impeachment talk publicly, saying that it was a decision for Congress. 

"What the Congress decides to do is for them to decide, but I'm going to have to — and they're going to have to be ready to hit the ground running," Biden said. "Because when [Vice President-elect Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisHarris's uncle discusses COVID-19 surge in India: 'The conditions are pretty bad' Updating the aging infrastructure in Historically Black Colleges and Universities Bowser on Manchin's DC statehood stance: He's 'not right' MORE] and I are sworn in we're going to be introducing immediately significant pieces of legislation to deal with the virus, to deal with the economy and deal with economic growth."

He added that the quickest way to get Trump out of office was for him to be sworn in on Jan. 20. 

Democrats will control the Senate after the 20th but they would still need significant support from Republicans to vote to convict Trump. Sen. Ben SasseBen SasseTim Scott sparks buzz in crowded field of White House hopefuls NYT's Stephens says Ted Cruz more 'unctuous' than Eddie Haskell GOP worries fiscal conservatism losing its rallying cry MORE (R-Neb.) has said he is open to articles of impeachment from the House. 

And Sens. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiPollster Frank Luntz: 'I would bet on' Trump being 2024 GOP nominee Trump muddles Republican messaging on Afghanistan Trump drama divides GOP, muddling message MORE (R-Alaska) and Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeySasse rebuked by Nebraska Republican Party over impeachment vote Philly GOP commissioner on censures: 'I would suggest they censure Republican elected officials who are lying' Toomey censured by several Pennsylvania county GOP committees over impeachment vote MORE (R-Pa.) have called on Trump to resign days before his tenure is scheduled to come to an end. 

“I want him to resign. I want him out. He has caused enough damage,” Murkowski told the Anchorage Daily News

But if Democrats would be able to pick up the other GOP votes is unclear, even if Trump is out of office. McConnell, like many GOP senators, has been mum on the president since Wednesday’s attacks, neither publicly throwing their support behind the options being pushed by Democrats nor rushing to defend Trump, whom they’ve stuck by closely since 2017. 

But Sen. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntRepublicans embrace Trump in effort to reclaim Senate GOP attorneys general group in turmoil after Jan. 6 Trump rally Senate GOP keeps symbolic earmark ban MORE (Mo.), a member of GOP leadership who is close to McConnell, has dismissed both calls for the 25th Amendment to be invoked and talk of impeaching Trump as a power move by Democrats. 

"No, I think it's a ridiculous discussion to have. I've got enough decisions to make about things that can happen rather than to spend time on things that can't happen," Blunt told a Missouri TV station when asked if he supported removing Trump and if McConnell would bring the Senate back before Jan. 19. 

To try to avoid bogging down the Senate agenda just as Biden is taking office, Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) floated that they could delay sending the articles to the Senate. 

“We will take the vote that we should take in the House. And [Pelosi] will make the determination as to when is the best time to get that vote and get the managers appointed and move that legislation over to the Senate,” Clyburn told CNN’s Jake TapperJacob (Jake) Paul TapperCNN's Jake Tapper questions giving some GOP leaders airtime Cheney slams Trump on 'big lie' over election Biden adviser on schools reopening in the fall: 'We can't look in a crystal ball' MORE on Sunday.

Del. Eleanor Holmes NortonEleanor Holmes NortonBowser on Manchin's DC statehood stance: He's 'not right' Heated argument erupts after Rep. Mondaire Jones calls GOP objections to DC statehood 'racist trash' House approves bill to make DC a state MORE (D-D.C.), who is a nonvoting member, said separately that she was going to introduce a resolution to censure Trump, arguing that was a better path than impeachment because of the legal questions raised about the ability to hold an impeachment trial after a president has left office. 

“A censure resolution is the only way to send a bipartisan, bicameral message without delay to the country and the world that the United States is a nation of laws,” Norton said in a statement. 

Fallout for GOP objectors 

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Lawmakers are also expected to discuss this week what, if any, fallout lawmakers who supported objections to the Electoral College vote, even after the Capitol attack, will face. 

Much of the political fallout has been directed at Sens. Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyCheney drama exposes GOP's Trump rifts Pollster Frank Luntz: 'I would bet on' Trump being 2024 GOP nominee Why isn't Washington defending American companies from foreign assaults? MORE (R-Mo.) and Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzCheney drama exposes GOP's Trump rifts Pollster Frank Luntz: 'I would bet on' Trump being 2024 GOP nominee Tim Scott sparks buzz in crowded field of White House hopefuls MORE (R-Texas), who led the objections in the Senate against the results in Pennsylvania and Arizona, respectively. 

The Senate was debating the Arizona objection when lawmakers were forced to go into lockdown, while Hawley moved forward with his objection to Pennsylvania’s results hours later after rioters had stormed the building. 

But dozens of Republicans supported the challenges, with six GOP senators and 121 House Republicans voting unsuccessfully to throw out Arizona’s Electoral College results. Seven GOP senators and 138 House Republicans voted late Wednesday night to support a challenge to Pennsylvania's results. 

Trump and some of his closest allies have falsely claimed for weeks that the election was “rigged,” even as he lost court challenges and election experts dismissed talk of widespread voter fraud. Though many congressional Republicans didn’t echo the president’s language they largely refused to denounce it. 

Several Senate Democrats have called on Hawley and Cruz to resign, meanwhile Sen. Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseJudge's decision on Barr memo puts spotlight on secretive DOJ office On The Money: Incomes, consumer spending soared in March | Harris, senators work behind scenes on jobs package | Biden cancels some border wall construction Harris, senators work behind scenes on jobs package MORE (D-R.I.) has called for an Ethics Committee investigation. Sen. Chris CoonsChris Andrew CoonsUS, Iran signal possible breakthroughs in nuke talks How the United States can pass Civics 101 Americans for Prosperity launches campaign targeting six Democrats to oppose ending filibuster MORE (D-Del.), the incoming committee chairman, was the first Senate Democrat to call for their resignation but hasn’t discussed potential committee action. 

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“The Senate will need to conduct security review of what happened and what went wrong, likely through Rules, Homeland and Judiciary. The Senate Ethics Committee also must consider the expulsion, or censure and punishment, of Sens. Cruz, Hawley, and perhaps others,” Whitehouse said in a string of tweets. 

Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) is also set to introduce a resolution to expel members who supported overturning the election results. 

"Tomorrow, I’m introducing my resolution to expel the members of Congress who tried to overturn the election and incited a white supremacist coup attempt that has left people dead. They have violated the 14th Amendment,” she tweeted.