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The U.S. House of Representatives could move forward with impeachment proceedings next week, if President Trump is not removed from office by his Cabinet sooner.
After an hours-long virtual Democratic Caucus meeting on Friday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) issued a statement that “it is the hope of Members that the President will immediately resign.”
But if he doesn’t, Pelosi said she has instructed the House Rules Committee to be prepared to move forward with a motion for impeachment, as well as legislation from Maryland Rep. Jamie B. Raskin (D) that would establish a legislatively appointed commission that could discharge the president under the 25th Amendment, if commission members conclude that the president lacks sufficient understanding or capacity to execute the powers and duties of the office.
Raskin, who represents parts of Montgomery, Frederick and Carroll counties, is also a chief sponsor of one of two impeachment resolutions garnering widespread support among congressional Democrats.
The measure from Raskin and Reps. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) and Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) says Trump should be removed and permanently barred from public office for “willfully inciting violence against the government of the United States.”
Among the factors undergirding the new effort by House Democrats to impeach Trump again is a controversial legal theory that doing so could bar him from pardoning himself, according to those involved.
The theory is among the many reasons — and there are many, as tempers still flare after a violent and destructive attack on the Capitol by Trump supporters on Wednesday — that more than 100 House Democrats have signed on to one or both of the proposed articles of impeachment.
That reasoning has only taken on more urgency as Trump has in recent weeks discussed issuing himself a pardon, according to The New York Times, which cited two unnamed sources with knowledge of Trump’s discussions.
Pence, meanwhile, reportedly opposes removing Trump from office using the 25th Amendment.
All of Maryland’s elected Democrats on Capitol Hill have expressed support for impeachment. Here’s some of what they’ve had to say:
U.S. Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin (D)
“We cannot wait 13 days. He must resign or be removed from office quickly ― either through the 25th Amendment or by impeachment ― before he does even more damage to our nation,” Cardin said in a statement Thursday.
U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D)
On Twitter: “President Trump instigated yesterday’s seditious attack on our democracy and must be removed from office. Each day he remains in the White House is a threat to our country. VP Pence must invoke the 25th amendment. If he and the Cabinet won’t act, Congress should move to impeach.”
Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (2nd District)
Ruppersberger has signed on as a cosponsor for impeachment proceedings, but also supports invoking the 25th Amendment, which would be a quicker process.
“President Trump incited an attempted coup and then – even after shots were fired – fanned the flames by repeating his baseless allegations of election fraud without a shred of evidence,” Ruppersberger said in a statement this week.
Rep. John P. Sarbanes (3rd District)
On Twitter: “President Trump has long demonstrated that he is unfit to hold the office of the Presidency, but his recent statements culminating in yesterday’s thinly cloaked invitation to rioters to descend upon the U.S. Capitol punctuated just how dangerous the situation has become. It is now tragically clear that his continuation in office, even for the short time between now and January 20th, poses a threat to the safety and security of the United States. He should be removed – either by invocation of the 25th Amendment or by impeachment.”
Rep. Anthony G. Brown (4th District)
In a statement calling for Trump’s impeachment released Wednesday night: “President Trump is a rogue Commander in Chief who represents a credible threat to our national security, our democratic institutions and the people of this country. Today, Americans and people around the globe witnessed the shameful display of the president encouraging a mob to incite rebellion and overturn the results of a free and fair election. President Trump has once again betrayed his oath of office and demonstrated his extreme unfitness to lead. We cannot have a man actively orchestrating sedition leading our nation’s government for another fourteen days, let alone giving orders to our men and women in uniform. As the world’s most powerful democracy, we cannot turn a blind eye to President Trump’s dangerous behavior to undermine our Constitution and subvert the will of the American people. We cannot wait until January 20th – Donald Trump is a subversive and must be removed from office.”
U.S. House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (5th District)
Hoyer said Friday afternoon that Congress should consider impeachment if the 25th Amendment is not invoked. He also expressed concern about Trump’s control over government while he remains in office:
“I would urge any and all public officials subject to the authority of the President to weigh very carefully any directive they may receive from him which they believe clearly violates the law or the Constitution and would place the security of America and its people in jeopardy.”
Rep. David J. Trone (6th District)
Trone signed on as a cosponsor of the impeachment article drafted by Raskin on Thursday night.
“Whether it is through the 25th Amendment or some other means, he can no longer be in that office. No one, including a President, should be able to provoke an insurrection and stand by while it is taking place and not suffer any consequences,” Trone wrote in an earlier email.
Rep. Kweisi Mfume (7th District)
“This president is guilty of treason, sedition, and inciting a riot. His actions yesterday, and over the course of four years, have been egregious, despicable, and most of all – deliberate. For too long he’s benefitted from his cloak of immunity. That stops now,” Mfume said in a statement. “I strongly support all calls to legally and constitutionally remove him from office. Working with members of the Judiciary Committee, I have cosponsored legislation to be introduced next week. This bill would not only start the impeachment process of Donald Trump, but will also permanently disqualify him from holding and enjoying any office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States of America. This president has blood on his hands.”
Freelance reporter Daniel Newhauser contributed to this report.