The House has approved a resolution formally calling on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment, which allows the majority of a cabinet to remove a president from office if they deem him unfit. The resolution requires Pence to respond within 24 hours, or the House will move forward with impeachment proceedings against the president.
Before the House voted on the resolution, Pence said in a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi that he would not invoke the 25th Amendment. The vice president said he did not “believe that such a course of action is in the best interest of our Nation or consistent with our Constitution.”
But some Republicans in Congress are beginning to break with the president after a deadly attack on the Capitol last week by a violent mob of Trump supporters. Five Republicans, including Congresswoman Liz Cheney, the third-ranking Republican in the House, have said they will vote to impeach Mr. Trump.
“There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution,” Cheney said in a statement on Tuesday, accusing the president of inciting violence among his supporters. In a speech at a rally just hours before rioters overran the Capitol, Mr. Trump repeatedly refused to concede, urged Republican lawmakers to try to overturn the election, and encouraged supporters to “fight like hell.”
The House is expected to move forward with a vote on impeachment on Wednesday. An article of impeachment introduced in the House on Monday and backed by more than 200 Democrats accuses Mr. Trump of “incitement of insurrection,” and says he “gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of government.”
A report released by Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday evening said the president “committed a high Crime and Misdemeanor against the Nation by inciting an insurrection at the Capitol in an attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 Presidential Election.”
Some Republicans have denounced the president, but declined to go so far as to say they will impeach him. A group of six House Republicans on Tuesday introduced a resolution censuring Mr. Trump for “trying to unlawfully overturn the 2020 presidential election and violating his oath of office” on January 6. Unlike impeachment, censuring would not have any practical consequences, but would simply be a formal condemnation.
The president has declined to take any responsibility for the deadly assault that left five dead. Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Mr. Trump claimed his speech to supporters before they stormed the Capitol was “totally appropriate.”