Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., who is one of the representatives taking the lead on an impeachment resolution targeting President Trump after the riot at the U.S. Capitol last week, argued Sunday that Congress is “obligated” to impeach the president.
“What we witnessed on Wednesday was an attack on our democracy, an insurrection against the government of the United States during the sacred ritual of the Electoral College,” Cicilline told “America’s News HQ” on Sunday.
“We cannot allow that kind of attack on our democracy, an attempted coup d’état to occur without consequence,” he added.
House Democrats, including Cicilline, were drafting a new article of impeachment against Trump Friday. The deadly riot at the Capitol two days earlier was a failed attempt to stop Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s presidential victory and a major security breach that forced lawmakers to evacuate to secure locations.
Cicilline said on Sunday he plans to introduce the article of impeachment along with about 200 original cosponsors, adding that he expects “that number to grow.”
He acknowledged that “there are some people who think, ‘Oh, well, the president’s leaving in 10 days, let’s just overlook it.’”
“We took an oath to defend and protect the Constitution and our democracy. That responsibility falls to us. We have no other choice,” Cicilline said.
“Resignation would be preferable, invocation of the 25th Amendment would be preferable, but those two things aren’t going to happen so Congress is obligated under our oath of office to move forward and impeach this president.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer of New York pushed for Trump’s removal from office through the 25th Amendment, arguing it was too risky to keep Trump in power until Jan. 20, when Biden is scheduled to be inaugurated.
But if Vice President Mike Pence and the Cabinet don’t remove Trump, as the amendment would require, Democrats seemed to have broad support for a second round of impeachment.
The impeachment resolution was expected to be introduced in the House on Monday as a privileged resolution, Fox News confirmed. The article of impeachment is for “incitement of insurrection” and states that Trump engaged in high crimes and misdemeanors by “willfully inciting violence against the government of the United States.”
The resolution also calls out Trump for his Jan. 2 phone call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger where he urged the election official to “find” enough votes to overturn Biden’s win in the state — and appeared to issue subtle threats if Raffensperger failed to do so.
Trump’s actions warrant removal from office and “disqualification” to run ever again, the impeachment resolution states.
Speaking on “Sunday Morning Futures” Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, stressed that “impeachment is for a sitting president and the president, if the Democrats pursue this, could not have a trial until after he left office so I think it’s got real constitutional problems, but most importantly, it’s not healthy for the nation.”
Reacting to Jordan’s comments Cicilline said, “The impeachment by the House would happen before the president leaves office.”
He pointed to a legal opinion “that says an impeachment removal, that is the trial, can happen subsequent to his departure.”
Cicilline went on to note that there is precedent for that “so that’s not an issue.”
He stressed that “our responsibility in the House is if we see impeachable conduct by the president, we have a responsibility to impeach him and I expect that’s what we’ll do this week.”
Appearing on “America’s News HQ” immediately after Cicilline, Rep. French Hill, R-Ark., argued that pursuing a “hasty impeachment” would disrupt Biden’s transition.
“Our country is in pain right now, miserable after the horrific and outrageous events of last Wednesday and my personal view, despite my absolute thinking the president’s behavior that day was reprehensible, is that aren’t we in pain enough? Don’t we need less brinksmanship and more leadership in our country to move to the peaceful transition of power on January 20th at noon?” Hill asked.
He went on to say that the impeachment “is not going to come to trial before the inauguration and, therefore, you’re just disrupting Joe Biden’s transition.”
Hill stressed that members of Congress “need to start building trust back across both sides of the aisle.”
He went on to say that “jamming a second impeachment with 10 days to go in this administration, in my view, is not the way to build trust across the aisle or to welcome the incoming Biden administration to the goals they have and to their conferees in the Senate.”
“All that would be thrown off track, in my view, by pursuing a hasty impeachment,” Hill continued.
Fox News’ Marisa Schultz contributed to this report.