Trump could face threat of an ouster, possible impeachment following Capitol breach
WASHINGTON (US) -President Donald Trump faced the threat on Thursday of a second impeachment, following the breaching of the US Capitol his supporters as Congress was certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.
As Democratic leaders demanded his ouster, Trump inched near a formal concession, admitting a new administration would be sworn in on January 20 and also taking a vow to ensure a “smooth transition” in a video released on Thursday evening.
The president slammed Wednesday’s violence, saying rioters had tainted American democracy and must be held accountable.
Just a day earlier, Trump had told supporters: “We love you. You’re very special.” He was urging them to go home after they thronged the Capitol.
The president had said: “We have just been through an intense election, and the emotions are high, but now tempers must be cooled and calm restored.
Trump, a Republican, added, “We must get on with the business of America.”
In the video, he was seen defending his attempts to challenge the election in court. He said his goal was to “ensure the integrity of the vote.”
The top Democrats in Congress, House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, urged Vice President Mike Pence and Trump’s Cabinet to make use of the US Constitution to remove Trump for “his incitement of insurrection.”
The 25th Amendment gives permission to a majority of the Cabinet to remove a president from power if he is not able to effectively perform the duties of the office.
However, a Pence adviser said the vice president, who would have to lead any such effort, was against using the amendment to get Trump ousted from the White House.
If Pence fails to take action, Pelosi highlighted she would likely reconvene the House to get started with the impeachment proceedings against Trump for his role in Wednesday’s violence. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, whose committee would likely make draft of any articles of impeachment, voiced his support earlier on Thursday.
With less than two weeks remaining in Trump’s term, it was vague whether House Democrats would have enough time to initiate and complete impeachment proceedings.
Biden blamed Trump for the attack. “He unleashed an all-out assault on the institutions of our democracy from the outset. And yesterday was but the culmination of that unrelenting attack”, Biden said at a news conference.
A source familiar with the situation said Trump in recent weeks had talked about the possiblities of pardoning himself. The White House, however declined to comment.
Trump would have to face potential state legal actions while leaving office, including a criminal probe in New York, which would not be guarded by a federal pardon.