Donald Trump begins one of the most perilous weeks of his presidency Monday as momentum for a second impeachment soared over the weekend and a growing number of Republicans broke ranks to openly call for his removal.
House Democrats said they were prepared to vote on impeachment as early as Tuesday for Trump’s role in inciting a mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol last week. In a show of the president’s evaporating support within his own party, Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., suggested Trump should resign and could face “criminal liability” for his actions.
Trump has only days remaining in his term – a point supporters noted – but the debate over how Congress should respond is focused largely on his legacy and his ability to control the GOP once President-elect Joe Biden takes office Jan. 20. Playing into that debate: whether Trump could mount another run for the White House in 2024.
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a longtime ally of the president’s, was among several Republicans who said Sunday they support a second impeachment, a double black mark that has never befallen a president. Trump was impeached in 2019 for allegedly soliciting Ukraine’s interference in the 2020 election. He was acquitted in the Senate.
What we had was an incitement to riot at the United States Capitol. We had people killed,” Christie said on ABC’s “This Week. “To me, there’s not a whole lot of question here. … If inciting to insurrection isn’t [impeachable], then I don’t really know what it is.”
Toomey followed the lead of Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, who on Friday became the first Republican senator to call on Trump to resign, though Toomey said Sunday he doesn’t think it will happen. Toomey raised the prospect that Trump could face criminal charges for his role in whipping up his supporters.
“I’m not a lawyer. I’m not a prosecutor,” he said. “But there should be accountability.”
Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb. said Friday on “CBS This Morning” that if the House advanced impeachment articles, “I will definitely consider whatever articles they might move” because he believed Trump disregarded his oath of office.
South Carolina Rep. James Clyburn, the third-ranking House Democrat, predicted Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union” that lawmakers could vote as soon as Tuesday to impeach Trump. He told USA TODAY over the weekend that Democrats should act, regardless of what Senate Republicans decide to do with a trial.