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Katko becomes first Republican to say he'll vote to impeach Trump

Rep. John KatkoJohn Michael KatkoRep. John Katko: Why I became the first Republican lawmaker to support impeachment NY Republican says cybersecurity will be a high priority for Homeland Security panel Upton becomes first member of Congress to vote to impeach two presidents MORE (N.Y.) became the first Republican lawmaker to say publicly that he will vote to impeach President TrumpDonald TrumpIran's leader vows 'revenge,' posting an image resembling Trump Former Sanders spokesperson: Biden 'backing away' from 'populist offerings' Justice Dept. to probe sudden departure of US attorney in Atlanta after Trump criticism MORE over his role in inciting a violent mob to storm the Capitol last week.

Katko said in a statement that he intends to join with Democrats on Wednesday when they vote to impeach Trump on a single article of “willfully inciting violence against the Government of the United States.”

Shortly after Katko released his statement, GOP Conference Chair Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyFor Biden, a Senate trial could aid bipartisanship around COVID relief McCarthy supports Cheney remaining in leadership amid calls for her to step down Budowsky: Democracy won, Trump lost, President Biden inaugurated MORE (Wyo.) and Rep. Adam KinzingerAdam Daniel KinzingerBudowsky: Democracy won, Trump lost, President Biden inaugurated Upton becomes first member of Congress to vote to impeach two presidents The Hill's Morning Report - Trump impeached again; now what? MORE (R-Ill.) said that they would also vote for impeachment.

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Republicans have been gauging support for the impeachment article amid speculation that a number of moderate GOP lawmakers could vote against Trump.

“To allow the president of the United States to incite this attack without consequence is a direct threat to the future of our democracy,” Katko said in the statement. “For that reason, I cannot sit by without taking action. I will vote to impeach this president.” 

“It cannot be ignored that President Trump encouraged this insurrection – both on social media ahead of January 6th, and in his speech that day,” Katko added. “By deliberately promoting baseless theories suggesting the election was somehow stolen, the president created a combustible environment of misinformation, disenfranchisement, and division. When this manifested in violent acts on January 6th, he refused to promptly and forcefully call it off, putting countless lives in danger.”

Katko’s statement was first reported by Syracuse.com. Katko is the co-chair of the Tuesday Group, a caucus of moderate Republican House members, and represents a district Hillary Clinton won by 3 points in 2016.

The New York Republican's statement comes amid fury from lawmakers in both parties over the president's comments leading up to the mob that stormed the Capitol last week.

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Five people, including a police officer and a rioter who was shot in the skirmish, were killed, and lawmakers who had gathered to certify the presidential election results were forced to shelter in a secure location.

During his remarks, Trump spoke to a throng of supporters to reiterate his unfounded claims that the presidential election was fraudulently “stolen” from him, telling the crowd “you have to show strength” and “if you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore.”

Those remarks have led to a flood of criticism from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle who said Trump bears some responsibility for last week’s mayhem.

House Democrats on Monday introduced their article of impeachment and are anticipated to pass it Wednesday, which would mark the first time a president has been impeached two separate times during his tenure. The president was first impeached in December 2019 for using U.S. aid to pressure Ukrainian officials to investigate now-President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenRev. Barber says best way to undercut extremism is with honesty Biden requires international travelers to quarantine upon arrival to US Overnight Defense: House approves waiver for Biden's Pentagon nominee | Biden to seek five-year extension of key arms control pact with Russia | Two more US service members killed by COVID-19 MORE.

No House Republicans joined on to Trump’s first impeachment and Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyFor Biden, a Senate trial could aid bipartisanship around COVID relief Bipartisan Senate gang to talk with Biden aide on coronavirus relief GOP senator calls Biden's COVID-19 relief plan a 'non-starter' MORE (Utah) was the only Republican senator to vote to convict the president, but a number of GOP lawmakers in both chambers have already called on Trump to resign over last week's riot, raising the prospect that some could jump the aisle to vote to impeach and convict.

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The riot and impeachment have put GOP lawmakers in a bind, on the one hand looking to keep the support of a base that still supports the president and on the other looking to issue some kind of reprimand over the bedlam Trump helped fuel.

"I'll vote the right way, you know, if I'm presented with that,” Kinzinger said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week” the day before House Democrats introduced the article of impeachment. “I just think it's probably not the smartest move right now, but I think that's going to be out of my hands."

Cheney, a top GOP Trump critic who opposed efforts by those in her party to overturn the certification of Biden’s election victory, became the first member of GOP leadership to signal that they would support the impeachment effort.

Among those who are being closely watched as other potential “yes” votes are Rep. Fred UptonFrederick (Fred) Stephen UptonUpton becomes first member of Congress to vote to impeach two presidents The Hill's Morning Report - Trump impeached again; now what? Kinzinger says he is 'in total peace' after impeachment vote MORE (R-Mich.), another Tuesday Group co-chair, as well as Reps. Jaime Herrera BeutlerJaime Lynn Herrera BeutlerUpton becomes first member of Congress to vote to impeach two presidents The Hill's Morning Report - Trump impeached again; now what? Kinzinger says he is 'in total peace' after impeachment vote MORE (R-Wash.) and Brian FitzpatrickBrian K. FitzpatrickTrump's assault on the federal government isn't over Growing number of GOP lawmakers say they support impeachment GOP lawmakers introduce resolution to censure Trump over Capitol riot MORE (R-Pa.).

Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyMcCarthy supports Cheney remaining in leadership amid calls for her to step down The Hill's 12:30 Report: Biden hits the ground running on COVID Biden's inauguration marked by conflict of hope and fear MORE (R-Calif.) told House Republicans on a Monday conference call he opposed impeachment, though no formal whip effort against impeachment is believed to be underway among Republicans.

It is unclear how much support there will be among Senate Republicans for a conviction, but The New York Times reported Tuesday that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump selects South Carolina lawyer for impeachment trial McConnell proposes postponing impeachment trial until February For Biden, a Senate trial could aid bipartisanship around COVID relief MORE (R-Ky.) has told people that he thinks Trump committed impeachable offenses.

Trump defended the remarks he made last week, telling reporters Tuesday they were “totally appropriate.”

Updated at 6:28 p.m.