Progressives late Sunday voiced growing frustration with what they perceive as dangerous foot-dragging by the Democratic leadership after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi laid out a plan of action for the coming week that will likely push off an impeachment vote until Wednesday, a full week after a violent mob incited by President Donald Trump attacked the U.S. Capitol.
In a “Dear Colleague” letter on Sunday, Pelosi said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) will request unanimous consent Monday morning to pass a resolution calling on Vice President Mike Pence and the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment and remove Trump from office. If the unanimous consent request is blocked, the full House will vote on the 25th Amendment measure on Tuesday, according to Pelosi.
“House Democrats should move articles of impeachment to the floor on Monday and not wait one more minute. Vice President Pence had his moment to act and he refused.”
—Rahna Epting, MoveOn
“We are calling on the vice president to respond within 24 hours,” Pelosi said.
If Pence doesn’t take action—and he has given no indication that he will as Cabinet secretaries begin jumping ship—only then will the House move forward with articles of impeachment against the president for his role in encouraging the mob that stormed the Capitol in a failed attempt to stop the certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.
While impeachment articles are expected to be formally introduced on Monday, they likely won’t receive a vote until Wednesday, a week before Inauguration Day.
Rahna Epting, executive director of advocacy group MoveOn, said in a statement late Sunday that Pelosi’s timeline for a vote on impeachment does not reflect the urgency of ousting a president who, in his final days in power, poses a major threat to the United States and the rest of the world.
“Donald Trump incited a deadly insurrection and we know his supporters are already planning more attacks. Every moment he spends in office he puts our nation at greater danger,” said Epting. “House Democrats should move articles of impeachment to the floor on Monday and not wait one more minute. Vice President Pence had his moment to act and he refused. Congress must now do its Constitutional duty without any further delay.”
Murshed Zaheed of progressive media firm Megaphone Strategies said Sunday that it “makes no sense to give Pence 24 hours to waste when he has made it clear he has no desire to remove an insurrectionist traitor out of the White House.”
“Pelosi just keeps fiddling while democracy burns,” Zaheed added.
Just so we’re clear, Pelosi decided to wait a full week after the deadly insurrection that risked her life to vote on impeachment (Weds), and only after tons of pressure from her members & the public. I seriously do not understand the psychology of The Democrats’ leadership. https://t.co/Fdu6j5ltMx
— Alex Kotch (@alexkotch) January 11, 2021
If the House votes to impeach Trump for the second time, it is far from clear when a trial would begin in the Senate, which is still controlled by Republicans ahead of the swearing-in of Democratic Sens.-elect Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff of Georgia. A two-thirds majority is required to convict.
As the New York Times reported, House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) on Sunday “argued in favor of delaying the start of any Senate trial for several months to allow [Biden] to take office without the cloud of an all-consuming impeachment drama.”
“We have someone who is working on overthrowing a government, our Capitol was under siege. I don’t know what could be more important than us standing up for our democracy and our Republic.”
—Rep. Ilhan Omar
“Let’s give President-elect Biden the 100 days he needs to get his agenda off and running,” Clyburn said in an appearance on CNN.
Clyburn’s comments “provoked widespread frustration among Democrats,” the Washington Post reported, citing unnamed aides and lawmakers. “They worried that Clyburn’s remarks would undermine the party’s case for Trump’s quick removal: that he is an immediate danger to the nation.”
Some Democrats, according to the Post, are privately raising concerns about the impeachment push and are “looking to Biden to take a firm public stance and slam the brakes.” The Intercept reported late last week that Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.), a senior adviser to Biden, “has told people close to him that he supports impeaching President Donald Trump.”
In an appearance on MSNBC Sunday morning, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.)—the lead sponsor of two articles of impeachment against Trump—addressed her colleagues who are “thinking about whether this is practical” and questioning whether Congress “has any time left” to impeach and remove the president.
“The reality is that the practicality or the realisticness of this process should not stop us from moving forward,” said Omar. “This is what we have to do in order to protect our democracy, our Republic, and send a clear message that actions have consequences.”
“We have someone who is working on overthrowing a government, our Capitol was under siege,” the Minnesota Democrat continued. “I don’t know what could be more important than us standing up for our democracy and our Republic.”