After the tear gas cleared, the broken glass swept away and shattered doors shored up, the question before the U.S. House of Representatives is whether to impeach President Donald Trump — for the second time.
Never mind that only a week remains before President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated as our nation’s 46th president. Never mind that there is not enough time for the Senate to have a trial if the House indicts, or impeaches, Trump.
Congress must respond to the president’s sinister actions: The details of the attack, some disturbingly coordinated; the deaths; the stunning words of Trump sending the insurrectionists down Pennsylvania Avenue. Barring Vice President Mike Pence and senior White House officials invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from power — which this editorial board called for last week — Congress must act.
On Monday, four House members introduced a single article of impeachment, accusing Trump of “incitement of insurrection.” Separately, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., introduced a resolution urging Pence to invoke the 25th amendment, but two Republicans blocked it. The Hoyer resolution could be voted on as early as Tuesday.
No president has been impeached twice. But this moment, this president, requires it. The question is whether the duly elected members of Congress will acknowledge that the president incited violence against the government of the United States in a bid to overturn his election loss to Biden. Or not.
In an impeachment trial, presumably after the inauguration, the Senate could also vote to prohibit Trump from ever running for office again.
In the wee hours of Thursday morning, all members of Washington’s Congressional delegation, both Democratic U.S. senators, seven Democratic and three Republican House members, voted to certify the Electoral College vote. But earlier in the week, U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Spokane, had said she would vote not to certify, though she announced a change of heart after the attacks on the Capitol. Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Sunnyside, had said he would vote to certify but signed a letter to House leadership that criticizes the “reckless adoption of mail-in ballots” in many states. Yes, a mail-in ballot is exactly how he was reelected.
To her credit, Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Vancouver, never joined her fellow Republicans in challenging the credibility of the elections in December. On the House floor, after the attack, she stood and argued for her colleagues to certify.
Now, the question before them and all House members, if Pence does not act, is whether to impeach.
The question is, representatives: Are you with the U.S. and the rule of law or against it? Are you with us?