WASHINGTON (AFP) – US Democrats on Saturday were readying for an unprecedented second impeachment of Donald Trump as the defiant president showed no signs of stepping down after the deadly violence at the Capitol.
Democrats said impeachment proceedings could begin as early as today – an extraordinary acceleration of a process that historically has taken weeks, but one that might not be completed before President-elect Joe Biden is sworn into office on January 20.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi warned that Democrats will launch the process unless Trump resigns or Vice President Mike Pence invokes the 25th Amendment, where the cabinet removes the president.
“He’s deranged, unhinged and dangerous. He must go,” Pelosi, referring to Trump, tweeted on Friday.
The move to impeach came amid continued fury over the storming of the Capitol on Wednesday by angry Trump supporters, which left five people dead, including a Capitol policeman.
The impeachment text – signed by at least 180 members of Congress so far, according to Democratic congressman Ted Lieu – laid blame squarely at the president’s feet.
Trump, who had urged his supporters to come to Washington on Wednesday for a rally opposing his November election loss, has remained defiant, even after finally posting a video Thursday in which he belatedly promised an “orderly transition” to the Biden administration.
But the president also said that “it’s only the beginning of our fight.”
That sort of language prompted Twitter to suspend Trump permanently on Friday and fueled Democrats’ moves against him.