A group of House Republicans who voted to accept President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory asked him to persuade Speaker Nancy Pelosi to back off impeaching Donald Trump for instigating Wednesday’s riot at the U.S. Capitol.
The lawmakers, led by Representative Ken Buck of Colorado, warned in a letter to Biden on Saturday that Trump’s impeachment would inflame his supporters anew, and damage Biden’s efforts to unify the country.
“In the spirit of healing and fidelity to our Constitution, we ask that you formally request that Speaker Nancy Pelosi discontinue her efforts to impeach President Donald J. Trump a second time,” the wrote.
Pelosi has threatened to allow impeachment proceedings to begin, perhaps as soon as Monday, unless Trump resigns following the insurrection at the Capitol. Many members of Congress in both parties have blamed Trump for the violence after he summoned supporters to Washington to protest while Congress counted Electoral College votes, and then urged them to march on the Capitol in a defiant speech on Wednesday morning.
Five people died in the violence that ensued after Trump’s supporters stormed into the building, including a Capitol Police officer.
But the Republican House members said that “a presidential impeachment should not occur in the heat of the moment, but rather after great deliberation.”
They added that impeachment “would undermine your priority of unifying Americans, and would be a further distraction to our nation at a time when millions of our fellow citizens are hurting because of the pandemic and the economic fallout.”
Biden said in a news conference on Friday that it was up to Congress to decide whether to impeach Trump, but that the fastest way to remove the president would be his own inauguration on Jan. 20. He said he wanted Congress ready the day he’s sworn in to address his agenda, led by new measures to curb the pandemic and stimulate the economy.
Representative Ted Lieu of California says more than 180 Democratic members of the House have signed onto an Article of Impeachment to be introduced Monday charging that Trump should be removed from office for inciting an insurrection.
But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a letter to colleagues late Friday that it would require unanimous agreement by all 100 senators to begin a trial before Jan. 19, the day before Trump leaves office. A few Republican senators, however, have said the president deserves to be removed, and convicting Trump after he leaves office could prevent him from running for president again.
“I do think the president committed impeachable offenses,” Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania said Saturday on Fox News.
Other signatories on the letter sent to Biden were Representatives Chip Roy of Texas, Thomas Massie of Kentucky, Kelly Armstrong of North Dakota, Tom McClintock of California, Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin and Nancy Mace of South Carolina.