U.S. House Dems say they have enough votes to impeach Trump

Kathy Manning is among five N.C. Congressional Democrats who support impeaching President Trump (Photo: US House)

WASHINGTON — At least 214 Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives have signed on to a measure to impeach President Donald Trump that was introduced Monday, charging him with inciting the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol last week.

Five North Carolina Democrats are among those who have signed the resolution: Reps. Alma Adams (District 12), G.K. Butterfield (District 1), Kathy Manning (District 6), David Price (District 4) and Deborah Ross (District 2).

Supporters of the impeachment effort say they would have enough votes to send charges against Trump — who is days away from leaving office — to the Senate for a second time.

There are 222 Democrats in the House and 211 Republicans, with one race still undecided and one vacancy, so Democrats would need 217 votes.

Four Democrats who serve on the House Judiciary Committee — Reps. David Cicilline of Rhode Island, Ted Lieu of California, Jamie Raskin of Maryland and Jerrold Nadler of New York — introduced the impeachment resolution.

“Most important of all, I can report that we now have the votes to impeach,” Cicilline wrote on Twitter as he posted a copy of the resolution.

The impeachment measure accuses Trump of making statements that “encouraged—and foreseeably resulted in — lawless action at the Capitol, such as: ‘if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.’”

The measure also cites Trump’s phone call directing Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” votes to overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s win in the state.

“In all this, President Trump gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of government,” the measure reads. “He threatened the integrity of the democratic  system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power, and imperiled a coequal branch of government. He thereby betrayed his trust as president, to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.”

The impeachment process could begin as soon as Wednesday, following a final effort to ask Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office, if a majority of the Cabinet also approves.

Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) sought on Monday morning to bring up for unanimous approval a resolution from Raskin that would urge Pence to begin the 25th Amendment process. Republicans objected to that action.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has said the chamber will hold a floor vote on the resolution Tuesday, before moving to the impeachment process.

The impeachment process would typically begin in the House Judiciary Committee, but it is expected to go directly to the full House. If the article of impeachment is approved, the Senate would then hold a trial, which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said would not begin until Jan. 19, the day before Biden is set to be sworn in.

At least two Senate Republicans have called for Trump to resign: Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania.

Toomey said in broadcast interviews over the weekend that he believes Trump “committed impeachable offenses,” and suggested that the outgoing president could potentially face “criminal liability” related to the Capitol insurrection. But Toomey stopped short of saying that he would vote to convict Trump if the House does send over articles of impeachment.

“Whether impeachment can pass the United States Senate is not the issue,” Hoyer told reporters Monday morning, according to a pool feed.

“The issue is we have a president most of us believe participated in encouraging an insurrection and an attack on this building and on democracy and trying to subvert the counting of the presidential ballot.”

 

Democrats unveil resolution to impeach Trump, fearing a self-pardon

More on the 25th Amendment and how it might be invoked to remove Trump from office

WASHINGTON — A rapidly rising number of federal lawmakers are calling for President Donald Trump to be removed from office, either through a process outlined in the 25th Amendment or through impeachment.

Congressman Price calls on VP Pence to invoke the 25th amendment

The dean of North Carolina’s congressional delegation is calling on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th amendment and immediately remove President Trump from office.

Rep. David Price (NC-04) said the action is warranted as President Trump has fomented rage among his supporters with baseless conspiracies about the election, leading up to Wednesday’s acts of insurrection by pro-Trump supporters.

“I call on Vice President Pence and cabinet members to uphold their oath to the Constitution and invoke the 25th Amendment immediately to remove President Trump from office. President Trump’s erratic behavior, his refusal to honor his constitutional duties, and his incitement of an attack on the very seat of democracy leave us no choice. It is too dangerous to wait until January 20th.”

Price says Congress must also do its part to protect democracy. The Chapel Hill Democrat is co-sponsoring two complementary impeachment resolutions.

The first charges Trump for his call to the Georgia Secretary of State to “find” over 11,000 votes and for abuse of power. The 2nd resolution charges Trump with incitement of insurrection.

Price calls the president’s conduct both criminal and impeachable. North Carolina Congresswoman Kathy Manning (NC-06) is also supporting this action.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters on Thursday if Trump’s Cabinet failed to act, the House might.

And more than 24 hours after encouraging his supporters to march on the Capitol and “fight like hell” Trump was back on Twitter Thursday night (after a 12-hour suspension) saying he was “outraged by the violence, lawlessness and mayhem.”

“Hippies for Trump”: Asheville man among nine North Carolinians arrested for right-wing insurrection at U.S. Capitol

On Monday, as thousands of supporters of President Donald Trump prepared to travel to Washington, D.C., to protest the certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s election, 46-year-old Thomas Gronek of Asheville was ready.

A friend of Gronek posted photos and a video to Facebook showing off Gronek’s ride — an old school bus spray-painted with a psychedelic color scheme, Grateful Dead iconography, pro-Trump graffiti and “Stop The Steal” messages.

Image: Facebook

The next day. the bus was stopped by the D.C. Metropolitan police in the 700 block of Constitution Avenue, minutes from the United States Capitol. Police said they found fireworks, a pistol, a rifle, a large-capacity ammunition feeding device and more than 300 rounds of ammunition aboard. Gronek was arrested on weapons charges. The driver of the bus,  34-year-old Timothy Keller, 34, of Asheville, was charged with “no permit” for the bus, according to police reports.

Fox46 of Charlotte reported the identities of other North Carolinians arrested at or near the Capitol yesterday, bringing the total to nine:

  • Jere Brower, 45, for curfew violation and unlawful entry.
  • Earl Glosser, 40, for curfew violation and unlawful entry.
  • Lance Grames, 42 for curfew violation and unlawful entry.
  • Tim Scarboro, 33, for curfew violation.
  • James Smawley, 27, for curfew violation.
  • Jay Thaxton, 46, curfew violation.
  • Michael Jones, 23, for curfew violation.

The arrest of the two Asheville men was one of many obvious red flags before an armed mob violently stormed the Capitol Wednesday, clashing with police and forcing their way onto the House and Senate floors, as lawmakers were evacuated or had to shelter in place until order was restored. One woman, who was trying to break down a door inside the Capitol, was shot by law enforcement, and three other people died in medical emergencies. More than a dozen police officers were injured; the FBI found and disarmed two improvised explosive devices. The National Guard had to be called in to help remove rioters from the Capitol and restore order as a city-wide curfew went into place at 6 p.m.

Thomas Gronek, from a video posted to Facebook shortly before his arrest on weapons charges in Washington D.C.

Though lawmakers and law enforcement have denounced the violent riot as unimaginable, right-wing groups and individuals had been laying out just this sort of scenario for months in increasingly erratic and violent social media posts.

On Oct. 30, as Trump was already suggesting his loss would be defacto proof of election fraud and a conspiracy to end his presidency, Gronek himself took to Facebook to post a long screed praising the president and denouncing his opponents and “the evil govt.” In the post Gronek warned of a “mass takeover of the country” in which he feared the constitution would be changed and suggested people opposing Trump and brainwashing the American public may actually be aliens.

“They think we aren’t smart enough to see the reality of this tarded ass mass takeover of our country,” Gronek wrote. ” ENOUGH IS EHOUGH![sic]”

“I will not stand and watch these people or aliens or what ever they are manipulate and screw with your minds into believing that you need them back in power,” Gronek wrote.

By the time he boarded his bus for D.C. this week, Gronek’s confusing but confrontational sentiments had not softened.

In the video in which he showed off his bus, Gronek smiles and lifts a fist on which he appears to be wearing a gauntlet covered in sharp spikes.

“I’ve got this for antifa,” he said, bragging about other weapons he had and ranting against “Asheville antifa.”

“I like my guns,” Gronek said in the video as he pointed out a skull emblem affixed to the front of the bus framed by two pistols, not far from the message “love is the answer.”

Right-wing insurrectionists enter the U.S. Capitol Building On Jan. 6. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Parler, a social media site embraced by conservatives as an alternative to Twitter and its policies against posts encouraging violence or spreading information, saw a wave of similar rhetoric in the run-up to the siege of the capitol.

A week ago a Parler user with the handle “QanonLV” posted “To all the Patriots descending on Washington DC on #jan6….come armed….”

The post has so far been up-voted by other users 870 times and “echoed” (Parler’s version of a re-tweet) by 251 people.

On Thursday, in the wake of the insurrection, the same user was one of many falsely claiming that left-wing activists posing as pro-Trump had actually instigated the violence.

“They set us up,” the user posted.

With Republican lawmakers and media personalities themselves divided on how to best react to the violence and who to blame, right-wing social media also seems to have splintered into factions.

A large number of Parler posts Wednesday and Thursday immediately began blaming left-wing protesters, “antifa” and even the D.C. Metro police for the violence. A number of these centered on internet memes that claim to identify specific rioters photographed at the Capitol as left-wing activists. Those memes misidentify a number of those in the photographs, as has been widely reported.

Even prominent right-wing personalities like Gavin McInnes, founder of the Proud Boys, took to Parler to discredit those posts. McInnes pointed out that some of the most prominent rioters identifiable by photographs, such as a bare-chested man in faux-Norseman costume people have called “Horns,” are Trump supporters and Q-Anon conspiracy theorists well known on the internet. Read more