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

Rep. John KatkoJohn Michael KatkoLawmakers advocate for establishment of standalone House and Senate cyber panels Hillicon Valley — Presented by American Edge Project — Facebook experiences widespread outage Lawmakers introduce bill to identify and protect critical groups from cyber threats MORE (N.Y.) became the first Republican lawmaker to say publicly that he will vote to impeach President TrumpDonald TrumpRobert Gates says 'extreme polarization' is the greatest threat to US democracy Cassidy says he won't vote for Trump if he runs in 2024 Schiff says holding Bannon in criminal contempt 'a way of getting people's attention' 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 CheneyBennie Thompson not ruling out subpoenaing Trump Anti-Trump Republicans endorsing vulnerable Democrats to prevent GOP takeover Thiel backing Trump-supported challenger to Cheney: report MORE (Wyo.) and Rep. Adam KinzingerAdam Daniel KinzingerKinzinger defends not supporting voting rights act: 'Democrats have to quit playing politics' Sunday shows preview: Supply chain crisis threaten holiday sales; uncertainty over whether US can sustain nationwide downward trend in COVID-19 cases Illinois Democrats propose new 'maximized' congressional map 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 BidenManchin lays down demands for child tax credit: report Abrams targets Black churchgoers during campaign stops for McAuliffe in Virginia Pentagon, State Department square off on Afghanistan accountability MORE.

No House Republicans joined on to Trump’s first impeachment and Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyThe Memo: Conservatives change their tune on big government Defense & National Security — Military starts giving guidance on COVID-19 vaccine refusals Blinken pressed to fill empty post overseeing 'Havana syndrome' 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 UptonThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Democrats argue price before policy amid scramble Fifth House Republican comes out in support of bipartisan infrastructure bill Democratic leaders racing toward Monday infrastructure vote MORE (R-Mich.), another Tuesday Group co-chair, as well as Reps. Jaime Herrera BeutlerJaime Lynn Herrera BeutlerThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Democrats argue price before policy amid scramble The Memo: Never Trumpers sink into gloom as Gonzalez bows out Kinzinger says Trump 'winning' because many Republicans 'have remained silent' MORE (R-Wash.) and Brian FitzpatrickBrian K. FitzpatrickLaws should unite, not divide Army veteran unveils challenge to Fitzpatrick in Pennsylvania House race The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Democrats argue price before policy amid scramble MORE (R-Pa.).

Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthySchiff: McCarthy 'will do whatever Trump tells him' if GOP wins back House House GOP campaign arm raises .8 million in third quarter McCarthy raises nearly M so far this year 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 McConnellHoyer signals House vote on bill to 'remove' debt limit threat Biden signs bill to raise debt ceiling On The Money — Progressives play hard ball on Biden budget plan 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.