By Babajide Okeowo
Donald Trump, the president of the United States, faced a renewed push by Democrats to remove him from office.
Representative Ted Lieu said on Twitter that Democratic members of the House of Representatives will introduce formal articles of impeachment on Monday. The California Democrat, who helped draft the charges, said the articles had drawn 180 co-sponsors as of Saturday afternoon.
The impeachment declaration accuses Trump of engaging “in high Crimes and Misdemeanors by willfully inciting violence against the Government of the United States”, according to a copy Lieu posted on Twitter on Friday.
It states that Trump “has demonstrated that he will remain a threat to national security, democracy and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office, and has acted in a manner grossly incompatible with self-governance and the rule of law”.
A vote could be held as soon as Wednesday.
The new push comes after Trump incited his supporters to storm the US Capitol on Wednesday as legislators met to certify the election victory of President-elect Joe Biden. Trump urged the crowd to march there in force during remarks in which he repeated his bogus claim that his election defeat was fraudulent.
The four-hour occupation of the seat of the US legislature shocked the country and raised questions about security preparations ahead of the well-planned and publicised event. Five people, including a rioter shot by police as she attempted to enter the House chamber and a Capitol Police officer struck by a fire extinguisher, died during the incident.
Ilhan Omar, a Democratic congresswoman, tweeted on Saturday afternoon that it was important to impeach and “convict this president even if he has few days left in office”. She added: “It will set a precedent. We must make it clear that no president can lead an insurrection against the US government. What we do today will matter for the rest of this nation’s history.”
The effort has drawn scattered support from Republicans, whose party has been splintered by the president’s actions.
Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska said on Friday that Trump should resign immediately and suggested she would consider leaving the party altogether if Republicans cannot separate themselves from him.
“I want him out. He has caused enough damage,” she told the Anchorage Daily News.
Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania told Fox News on Saturday that Trump had “committed impeachable offences” but declined to commit to voting in favour of Trump’s removal.
Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska, a frequent Trump critic, told CBS News he would “definitely consider” impeachment because the president “disregarded his oath of office”.
In a related development, federal agents arrested more Capitol Hill rioters on Saturday, including a man who carried off the House speaker’s lectern.
In a statement on Saturday, the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) said it had arrested and charged two men whose alleged participation in the Capitol riot went viral, as well as a West Virginia state legislator who allegedly livestreamed his illegal entry into the building.
The FBI said it identified Jacob Anthony Chansley, also known as Jake Angeli, of Arizona, as the man “seen in media coverage who entered the Capitol building dressed in horns, a bearskin headdress, red, white and blue face paint, shirtless, and tan pants”.
Chansley was charged with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority, as well as with violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, the FBI said.
A pro-Trump rioter, identified by the FBI as Adam Johnson, carries the lectern of the speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, through the rotunda of the US Capitol building.
The FBI also identified Adam Johnson, 36, as the man allegedly seen smiling while carrying the lectern of US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi through the rotunda of the Capitol complex. The man identified as Johnson wore a knitted hat that said “Trump” and “45” and appeared ebullient during the chaotic scene.
Johnson, a resident of Parrish, Florida, was arrested on Friday night and charged with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority, theft of government property, and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.
In its statement, the FBI also said that Derrick Evans, a 35-year-old man recently elected to the West Virginia House of Delegates, had been arrested and charged in relation to the events.