Republicans wrestle over removing Trump

GOP lawmakers are wrestling with whether to stick with President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump PACs brought in over M for the first half of 2021 Chicago owes Trump M tax refund, state's attorney mounts legal challenge Biden hits resistance from unions on vaccine requirement MORE between now and Jan. 20 as members of his Cabinet consider resigning or invoking the 25th Amendment to remove him from office. 

Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiBill would honor Ginsburg, O'Connor with statues at Capitol The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - US gymnast wins all-around gold as Simone Biles cheers from the stands The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - A huge win for Biden, centrist senators MORE of Alaska became the first Republican senator to call on Trump to resign, declaring on Friday afternoon that “he has caused enough damage.”

“I want him to resign. I want him out,” she told the Anchorage Daily News.

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A day later, Sen. Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyBlack women look to build upon gains in coming elections Watch live: GOP senators present new infrastructure proposal Sasse rebuked by Nebraska Republican Party over impeachment vote MORE (R-Pa.), who is retiring at the end of 2022, said Trump’s actions rise to the level of impeachment.

“I do think the president committed impeachable offenses,” Toomey told Fox News during an interview.

Murkowski and Toomey’s comments put pressure on Republican centrists, such as Sens. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - US gymnast wins all-around gold as Simone Biles cheers from the stands The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - A huge win for Biden, centrist senators The 17 Republicans who voted to advance the Senate infrastructure bill MORE (Utah) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsSunday shows preview: Delta concerns prompt CDC mask update; bipartisan infrastructure bill to face challenges in Senate Top Democrat: 'A lot of spin' coming from White House on infrastructure Bill would honor Ginsburg, O'Connor with statues at Capitol MORE (Maine), who as of Saturday night had not addressed whether Trump should step down or be removed from office.

Romney, the only Republican senator to vote to convict Trump on an article of impeachment in February, accused Trump of inciting a mob of supporters to storm the Capitol while Congress was counting the vote of the Electoral College on Wednesday.

Rep. Garrett Graves (R-La.) on Friday called for Trump to step back from the duties of his office, though he said he did not support impeaching the president or invoking the 25th Amendment.

“He effectively needs to resign. And what I mean by that is, effectively, he will not be out there talking, speaking, wielding the full authority and power of the White House, maybe even technically finding a way to hand over the keys to [Vice President] Pence,” he said.

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Sen. Ben SasseBen SasseSasse calls China's Xi a 'coward' after Apple Daily arrest Defunct newspaper's senior editor arrested in Hong Kong Murkowski: Trump has 'threatened to do a lot' to those who stand up to him MORE (R-Neb.), a prominent conservative and potential presidential candidate in 2024, said Thursday he would consider voting to convict Trump on an article of impeachment — something he voted against less than a year ago when House Democrats impeached Trump, charging him with abuse of power and obstructing justice.

"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." 

Sasse later said he was angry that Trump appeared “delighted” by images of rioters flooding past security to disrupt the counting of electoral votes.

“As this was unfolding on television, Donald Trump was walking around the White House confused about why other people on his team weren’t as excited as he was as you had rioters pushing against Capitol Police trying to get into the building,” Sasse told conservative talk show host Hugh Hewitt in an interview. “That was happening. He was delighted.”

“I’m sure you’ve also had conversations with other senior White House officials, as I have,” Sasse told Hewitt.

Particularly damaging to Trump was a clip that emerged showing him and his family in a festive mood watching video monitors of the pro-Trump mob gathered around the Capitol with the party song “Gloria” blaring.

The video filmed by Donald Trump Jr. showed his girlfriend Kimberly GuilfoyleKimberly GuilfoyleTrump to Pence on Jan. 6: 'You don't have the courage' Trump unhappy with Guilfoyle backing Greitens: report Giuliani to stump for Greitens in Missouri MORE dancing and urging viewers to fight, with an enthusiastic White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark MeadowsMeadows says Trump World looking to 'move forward in a real way' Trump takes two punches from GOP Watchdog urges Justice to probe Trump, Meadows for attempting to 'weaponize' DOJ MORE flashing a thumbs up shortly before rioters overran Capitol Police and ransacked Senate and House offices.

In the background, the president and his daughter Ivanka TrumpIvanka TrumpKushner launching investment firm in move away from politics: report Washington Post calls on Democrats to subpoena Kushner, Ivanka Trump, Meadows for testimony on Jan. 6 Jill Biden takes starring role at difficult Olympics MORE, a senior White House adviser, could be seen intently watching coverage of the crowd.

House Democrats are threatening to impeach Trump before Inauguration Day if he does not resign or if he isn’t removed by the 25th Amendment.

Pelosi said Friday evening that if Trump does not step down immediately she has instructed the House Rules Committee to advance a motion to impeach him. She said the House would also pass legislation to create a commission to declare the president is unable to discharge the duties of his office.

On the other side of the Capitol, Senate Republicans are now preparing for the possibility of a second Trump impeachment trial.

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBiden's bipartisan deal faces Senate gauntlet The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden sets new vaccine mandate as COVID-19 cases surge Democrats warn shrinking Biden's spending plan could backfire MORE (R-Ky.) on Friday circulated to colleagues a memo outlining how the Senate would proceed if the House approves articles of impeachment and transmits them to the upper chamber before or by Jan. 19, when senators are scheduled to resume regular business after the January recess.

McConnell said the most likely scenario if the House impeaches Trump is for the Senate to receive a message from the lower chamber notifying it of the action on Jan. 19. That would then give the Senate the option of ordering the House managers to present those articles on the same day.

Two members of Trump’s Cabinet have already stepped down after Wednesday’s violence: Transportation Secretary Elaine ChaoElaine ChaoSaluting FOIA on its birthday House passes bill to strengthen authority of federal watchdogs Biden at Sen. John Warner's funeral: He 'gave me confidence' MORE, who is married to McConnell, and Education Secretary Betsy DeVosBetsy DeVosBiden Education Department hires vocal proponent of canceling student debt Erik Prince involved in push for experimental COVID-19 vaccine: report Biden administration reverses Trump-era policy that hampered probes of student loan companies MORE.

“We should be highlighting and celebrating your administration’s many accomplishments on behalf of the American people,” DeVos wrote in her letter to Trump. “Instead, we are left to clean up the mess caused by violent protesters overrunning the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to undermine the people’s business.”

“That behavior was unconscionable for our country,” she wrote. “There is no mistaking the impact your rhetoric had on the situation, and it is the inflection point for me.”

The biggest question going forward is whether McConnell, who is now seen as the primary political compass for Senate Republicans, will call on Trump to step down.

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“McConnell has an ability to get Republican senators to do things. He has many levers and your relationship with the leader is important,” said one Republican senator who requested anonymity to discuss how GOP senators will handle the political fallout from Wednesday’s violence on Capitol Hill that left five people dead.

McConnell was credited by GOP senators for largely quashing a push to object to electoral votes for Biden after delivering two powerful speeches on the Senate floor Wednesday.

Only six GOP senators voted to reject the electoral slate from Arizona and seven voted to reject the slate from Pennsylvania, a striking contrast from how Republicans voted in the House, where those challenges garnered 121 and 138 votes, respectively.

Other Senate Republicans say they’re still fearful of Trump’s ability to wield power within the Republican base, noting that he still won 74.2 million votes on Election Day.

Trump suffered a major setback on that front Friday when Twitter permanently suspended his account, citing “the risk of further incitement of violence.”

A second Republican senator who requested anonymity to discuss Trump’s influence with voters said his office was flooded with calls from constituents demanding that the senator vote to support objections to Biden’s electoral votes.

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“Some of my friends are saying the talk back home is bad for you,” said the lawmaker, who voted against sustaining objections to the votes of Arizona and Pennsylvania. 

“They’re agitated about it,” the lawmaker said of Republicans back home.

Many GOP lawmakers, however, are sticking with Trump.

Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeBiden's bipartisan deal faces Senate gauntlet House GOP stages mask mandate protest 228 Republican lawmakers urge Supreme Court to overrule Roe v. Wade MORE (Utah), the chairman of the Senate Republican Steering Committee, contacted national security adviser Robert O’Brien and White House counsel Pat Cipollone to ask them not to resign before Trump leaves office.

Senate Republican Policy Committee Chairman Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntBiden's bipartisan deal faces Senate gauntlet The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden sets new vaccine mandate as COVID-19 cases surge Former Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon passes on Senate campaign MORE (R-Mo.) predicted Friday that Republicans would reject any articles of impeachment swiftly passed by the House, telling a Missouri television station that the Senate voting to remove Trump from office was “not going to happen.”

Jordain Carney contributed.