SPONSORED:

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

Rep. John KatkoJohn Michael KatkoHillicon Valley: Intelligence agency gathers US smartphone location data without warrants, memo says | Democrats seek answers on impact of Russian hack on DOJ, courts | Airbnb offers Biden administration help with vaccine distribution House lawmakers reintroduce bipartisan bill to weed out foreign disinformation on social media Cheney tests Trump grip on GOP post-presidency MORE (N.Y.) became the first Republican lawmaker to say publicly that he will vote to impeach President TrumpDonald TrumpMcCarthy says he told Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene he disagreed with her impeachment articles against Biden Biden, Trudeau agree to meet next month Trump planned to oust acting AG to overturn Georgia election results: report 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 CheneyCheney tests Trump grip on GOP post-presidency GOP senators say only a few Republicans will vote to convict Trump For Biden, a Senate trial could aid bipartisanship around COVID relief MORE (Wyo.) and Rep. Adam KinzingerAdam Daniel KinzingerCheney tests Trump grip on GOP post-presidency National Guard back inside Capitol after having been moved to parking garage Budowsky: Democracy won, Trump lost, President Biden inaugurated MORE (R-Ill.) said that they would also vote for impeachment.

ADVERTISEMENT

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.

ADVERTISEMENT

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 BidenMcCarthy says he told Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene he disagreed with her impeachment articles against Biden Biden, Trudeau agree to meet next month Fauci infuriated by threats to family MORE.

No House Republicans joined on to Trump’s first impeachment and Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyThe Hill's Morning Report - Biden's crisis agenda hits headwinds GOP senators say only a few Republicans will vote to convict Trump For Biden, a Senate trial could aid bipartisanship around COVID relief 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.

ADVERTISEMENT

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 says he told Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene he disagreed with her impeachment articles against Biden Cheney tests Trump grip on GOP post-presidency McCarthy supports Cheney remaining in leadership amid calls for her to step down 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 impeachment trial to begin week of Feb. 8 Democrats float 14th Amendment to bar Trump from office Biden signals he's willing to delay Trump trial 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.