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Democrat: GOP colleagues say they're 'afraid for their lives' if they vote to impeach Trump

Rep. Jason CrowJason CrowOvernight Defense: Ex-Pentagon chief defends Capitol attack response as GOP downplays violence | Austin, Biden confer with Israeli counterparts amid conflict with Hamas | Lawmakers press Pentagon officials on visas for Afghan partners Congress demands answers on Afghanistan withdrawal Tensions rise as Democrats face Senate bottleneck on agenda MORE (D-Colo.) said Republicans he spoke with on Tuesday evening wept and told him they fear for their personal safety as they weigh whether to vote in favor of impeachment of President TrumpDonald TrumpGOP-led Maricopa County board decries election recount a 'sham' Analysis: Arpaio immigration patrol lawsuit to cost Arizona county at least 2 million Conservatives launch 'anti-cancel culture' advocacy organization MORE this week. 

"The majority of them are paralyzed with fear," Crow said Wednesday on MSNBC. "I had a lot of conversations with my Republican colleagues last night. A couple of them actually broke down in tears talking to me, and saying that they are afraid for their lives if they vote for this impeachment."

Crow, who did not name the lawmakers, said he told them "welcome to the club." 

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"That's leadership. Our country is in a very challenging time. Many of us have felt that way for a long time because we have stood up for democracy," he said. "And we expect them to do the same." 

House Democrats introduced an article of impeachment against Trump on Tuesday, accusing him of "inciting insurrection" against the government after a mob of his supporters stormed the Capitol a week ago as a joint session of Congress met inside to certify President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden's quiet diplomacy under pressure as Israel-Hamas fighting intensifies Overnight Defense: Administration approves 5M arms sale to Israel | Biden backs ceasefire in call with Netanyahu | Military sexual assault reform push reaches turning point CDC mask update sparks confusion, opposition MORE's Electoral College victory. 

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Several prominent House Republicans, including the third most powerful member of the party's leadership, Rep. Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyConservatives launch 'anti-cancel culture' advocacy organization Trump signals he's ready to get back in the game Georgia's GOP lt. governor won't seek reelection amid election backlash MORE (Wyo.), said they would vote to impeach Trump. 

"Much more will become clear in coming days and weeks, but what we know now is enough," Cheney said. "The president of the United States summoned this mob, assembled the mob and lit the flame of this attack. Everything that followed was his doing. None of this would have happened without the president."

However other Republican allies of Trump in the House have said this week's impeachment push is rushed, partisan and would only further divide the country. 

Crow described those members as "morally bankrupt" and said they have "given into conspiracy theories" about election fraud and Trump's false claims of a "stolen" election. 

Earlier on Wednesday, Crow appeared on CNN's "New Day" and said he had spoken with over a dozen Republicans who told him "we know we should do this. We need to do this," in reference to impeaching Trump. 

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Since last week's riot, security in and around the Capitol has been increased with metal detectors placed in House hallways and dozens of armed National Guard troops deployed to the Capitol complex. 

Federal authorities are continuing to investigate what led to the rioting last week, saying they believe it was the intention of some activists to capture or kill lawmakers who broke with Trump, including Vice President Pence. 

A newly sworn in House Republican from Michigan, Rep. Peter Meijer, wrote in an op-ed for the Detroit News over the weekend that he wished he had brought his gun to Washington, D.C., to protect himself during the insurrection. 

"The illusion of security, of the sanctity of our constitutional order, collapsed. With guns drawn, police ordered us to evacuate, leading to chaos as we fled down corridors and into the tunnels beneath Capitol Hill. Several times our group of lawmakers found ourselves alone, with no police escort, fearful of what threats might lie around the next corner," Meijer wrote in the Detroit Newsover the weekend. "I have been called a traitor more times than I can count. I regret not bringing my gun to D.C." 

Trump has largely rejected blame for last week's riot, saying the speech he gave before the incident was "totally appropriate" and dismissing House Democrats' impeachment push as a "continuation" of a "hoax." 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenators shed masks after CDC lifts mandate Trump signals he's ready to get back in the game Manchin, Murkowski call for bipartisan Voting Rights Act reauthorization MORE (R-Ky.) has signaled support for Trump's impeachment, saying such a measure would make purging him from the Republican Party easier.