The final full week of the Trump presidency comes with the U.S. House advancing plans that could impeach President Trump following last week’s deadly assault on the Capitol.
House members will start with a resolution calling on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment. If Pence and the Cabinet fail to act, the House will vote on impeachment as early as Tuesday.
Congresswoman Kathy Manning (NC-06) of Greensboro shared her account of the attack on the platform Medium:
…there was noise from outside and Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Hoyer and Majority Whip Clyburn were rushed out of the House Chamber by security. The Chamber doors were locked and Capitol Police shouted that the Capitol had been breached and there was tear gas being released in the rotunda. They shouted to take out the gas masks that were in cases under our chairs. We struggled to open the packages and tried to figure out how to use the masks and whether to put them on. I heard a hum as many masks were activated. We were told to stay seated and be ready to take cover.
All at once the Capitol Police told the members on the House floor to evacuate the Chamber quickly. I watched as people rushed to the exits on the far side of the Chamber, some carrying their masks, others wearing them, as the police shouted to breath normally when we put the masks on so we wouldn’t hyperventilate.
In the gallery, the doors remained locked and we stayed in our seats, watching the people on the House floor below evacuate. There we were, probably 40 of us in the gallery, with Capitol Police, waiting, listening, occasionally hearing pounding on the outside of the doors. The police were shouting to each other and into their radios, trying to discern what was happening. One member showed me an article on her phone with pictures of the rioters who had breached the Capitol. The police told us to be ready to take cover behind our chairs because the marauders had guns. More pounding on the outside of the doors, followed by silence and waiting. Finally, the police told us to evacuate by running through the gallery to the other side, and take our gas masks. So we moved, stepping over discarded gas mask cases, ducking under handrails and trying to stay low.
There was no panic — people helped each other and made sure no one was left behind. As we reached the far side of the gallery we were told to stop, duck down on the floor and take cover. And we did — crouching on the floor behind the gallery knee wall, which seemed like the safest place because of the marble façade. Then we were told to take our pins off so no one could identify which of us were members in case the doors were breached. We all stayed in place on the floor, silent, for what seemed like 15 minutes.
I watched the Capitol Police with their guns drawn, standing at the doors, deciding whether it was safe to evacuate. Suddenly they opened to doors and told us to move quickly down the many flights of stairs to the basement of the building. Down we ran.
We made it to the basement, then were directed to a large room where we were to wait till the Capitol was secured.
We waited for hours. Finally, Speaker Pelosi and Leader Hoyer came into the room. They spoke eloquently about the gravity of what had occurred and announced that as soon as the Capitol was secured, we would return to the House Chamber and resume our work. We would not let the incitement of a violent mob by an irresponsible and unhinged president prevent us from performing our Constitutional duty to certify the free and fair election of Joe Biden.
Many questions remain about the security preparations made before, and treatment of rioters by law enforcement during, the insurrection. But thanks to the work of the Capitol Police, the Capitol was secured. Late in the night, I returned to the House floor to perform my Constitutional duty on behalf of the people who sent me to Washington. I was honored to cast my vote to continue our remarkable Democracy.
Manning is among a growing members in Congress who believe Trump’s remarks leading up to the riot and his response afterwards makes him unfit to hold office.
Rep. Greg Murphy (NC-03) has vowed to oppose any effort to remove Trump from office before January 20th:
Speaker Pelosi's intention to prematurely remove him from office is an unnecessary and partisan act which will only further divide our nation. I will oppose any such efforts to remove the president prior to the inauguration on January 20th.
— Greg Murphy (@RepGregMurphy) January 8, 2021