Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Friday defended growing calls among lawmakers to impeach President Trump with less than two weeks until President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, calling Wednesday’s pro-Trump riots on the Capitol “an insurrection against the U.S. government.”
“Some people ask: Why would you impeach and convict a president who has only a few days left in office?” the former Democratic presidential candidate tweeted. “The answer: Precedent.”
The senator added, “It must be made clear that no president, now or in the future, can lead an insurrection against the U.S. government.”
This comes as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) suggested House lawmakers would move to impeach the president if Vice President Pence and other Cabinet officials declined to remove Trump by invoking the 25th Amendment, a move Pence reportedly opposes.
A vote to impeach Trump for the second time could happen as early as next week, Assistant House Speaker Katherine Clark (D-Mass.) said Friday.
Many Democrats and some Republican lawmakers have urged Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment after Wednesday’s violence. The 1967 amendment to the Constitution ensures that the government remains in operation should a sitting president be deemed unfit to perform presidential duties.
A majority of the Trump Cabinet and Pence would have to agree the president is unfit to serve for him to be removed.
Five people died amid the chaos Wednesday on Capitol Hill, including a police officer who suffered injuries and a woman who was shot by a plainclothes officer.
Prior to the riots, Trump encouraged his supporters at a rally earlier in the day to march to the Capitol and protest Congress’s certification Biden’s win, repeating unsubstantiated claims that the 2020 election was “stolen” from him.
Three sources told CNBC on Friday that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin were among the Trump Cabinet members that have discussed the use of the 25th Amendment, though there was no formal advancement of the effort.
On Friday, Sen. Ben Sasse (Neb.), who has been one of the most critical Republicans of Trump in the last week, became the first GOP senator to signal support for a possible impeachment vote from the House.
“If they come together and have a process, I will definitely consider whatever articles they might move, because as I told you I believe the president has disregarded his oath of office,” Sasse said in an interview on “CBS This Morning.”
“He swore an oath to the American people to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution. He acted against that,” Sasse said. “What he did was wicked.”
More than 24 hours after the chaos at the Capitol, Trump signaled a shift in tone Thursday evening in taped remarks released on social media, in which the president for the first time since the November election admitted electoral defeat.
“A new administration will be inaugurated on Jan. 20. My focus now turns to ensuring a smooth orderly and seamless transition of power. This moment calls for healing and reconciliation,” Trump said in his address.