“In protecting our Constitution and our Democracy, we will act with urgency, because this President represents an imminent threat to both,” Pelosi said. “As the days go by, the horror of the ongoing assault on our democracy perpetrated by this President is intensified and so is the immediate need for action.”
The resolution directed at Pence urges the vice president to “immediately exercise powers as acting President.”
“We are calling on the Vice President to respond within 24 hours,” Pelosi added.
If the House formally levies articles of impeachment against Trump, it will be a remarkable moment in American history. No president has ever been impeached twice, and while it’s unclear if the Senate would move to remove Trump from office, a growing number of Republicans have voiced support for seeing him out of power before his term is done.
Pence is said to oppose invoking the 25th Amendment, and he has been one of the president’s longest and most loyal supporters throughout his administration. Pelosi’s move will likely force the vice president to publicly declare where he stands on the issue, with just days remaining in Trump’s term.
House lawmakers began drafting impeachment plans shortly after a mob of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol with guns and other weapons, energized by Trump’s insistence that the presidential election was rigged and stolen from him. Members of Congress, preparing to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s victory, were forced into hiding alongside staff, journalists and others on the premises as the rioters stormed through the chambers of government.
The attack left at five people — four riot participants and one Capitol Police officer — dead. A second Capitol Police officer died by suicide in the days after.
A draft of the House Democrats’ impeachment articles leaked Friday, showing they planned to cite a speech Trump gave to his supporters in Washington, D.C., before the crowd turned toward the Capitol.
“There, he reiterated false claims that ‘we won this election, and we won it by a landslide,’” the draft said. “He also willfully made statements that encouraged ― and foreseeably resulted in ― imminent lawless action at the Capitol.”
If two-thirds of the Senate agrees that Trump should be removed from the presidency, he will be barred from holding future office. That could be of great consequence to Trump, who’s reportedly told his allies he plans to run in 2024. The maneuver, however, would require the support of at least 18 Republicans.
The House first impeached Trump in December 2019 on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The Republican-controlled Senate, however, ultimately acquitted him.
CORRECTION: This story has been amended to reflect the correct number of senators needed to remove a president from office.