The violence at the Capitol last week caused a serious rift between Trump and Pence, and the two men did not speak for days, although they did meet at the White House on Monday
The Democratic-led House of Representatives plans to vote today on formal charges of misconduct, known as articles of impeachment, unless President Donald Trump resigns or Vice President Mike Pence moves to oust him under a provision in the US Constitution. According to Politico, the impeachment vote is scheduled for consideration at 8pm Bangladesh time.
Earlier, the Democrats gave Trump last chance on Tuesday to leave office days before his term expires over his supporters' deadly January 6 assault on the US Capitol.
The House was scheduled to vote on Tuesday midnight on a resolution calling on Pence, a Republican, to invoke the 25th Amendment, a never-before-used law that allows a majority of the Cabinet to strip the president of power if he or she is unable to discharge the office's duties.
Pence advisers say he is opposed to the idea.
The violence at the Capitol last week caused a serious rift between Trump and Pence, and the two men did not speak for days, although they did meet at the White House on Monday. A senior administration official said they discussed the riot.
"The two had a good conversation, discussing the week ahead and reflecting on the last four years of the administration's work and accomplishments," the official added.
If Trump has not stepped down and Pence has not taken action by today, Democratic leaders plan to bring his impeachment to the House floor, one week after the riot that forced lawmakers into hiding for hours and left behind five dead, including a police officer.
Two Democratic lawmakers, US Representatives Pramila Jayapal and Bonnie Watson Coleman, said they tested positive for Covid-19 days after being locked down for hours with other colleagues, including Republicans who did not wear a face mask, to avoid the mob.
Meanwhile, US Representative Tom Reed, a moderate Republican, wrote in a New York Times op-ed that he and House colleagues would introduce a censure resolution against Trump as an alternative to a "rushed, divisive" impeachment.
But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the top congressional Democrat, told Democratic members on a conference call on Monday that a censure "would be an abdication of our responsibility," according to a source familiar with the call.
Trump, speaking to reporters for the first time since his supporters breached the US Capitol last week, decried House Democrats move to impeach him as “absolutely ridiculous.”
The president said there was a “tremendous anger” over the move, which could happen as soon as Wednesday, called it a “continuation of the greatest witch hunt in the history of politics”, but added “I want no violence.”
Trump, in more comments to reporters on Monday, said that “people thought” his speech to supporters before the US Capitol riot, which critics allege incited the ensuing violence, “was totally appropriate.”
State of emergency in US capital
Trump has approved a state of emergency declaration in the United States capital, the White House press office said late on Monday, after US law enforcement officials warned of threats before President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.
The order authorizes federal assistance to be extended through January 24 to support efforts in Washington, DC to respond to the emergency situation.
Trial could complicate Biden agenda
The potential for another Trump impeachment trial is threatening to upend quick action in the Senate on Biden's cabinet picks and legislative agenda.
The effort is throwing a curveball into Biden’s plan to “hit the ground running” — with the party poised to control the White House and Congress for the first time since 2010 — and forcing Democrats to scramble to find ways to keep the administration’s first 100 days on track.
Biden, speaking to reporters, said his aides were in talks with the Senate parliamentarian staff about whether it would be possible to divide the Senate’s day between confirmation votes for nominees and taking up legislation and holding an impeachment trial.
“Can we go half day on dealing with impeachment, and half day getting my people nominated and confirmed in the Senate as well as moving on the package?” Biden asked. “I haven’t gotten an answer from the parliamentarian yet.”