House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday Democrats are prepared to move forward with impeachment next week if President Donald Trump doesn’t resign, as momentum quickly built among House Democrats furious with Trump to hold an impeachment vote.
Following a Democratic caucus call earlier in the afternoon, Pelosi said in a statement that the House would “preserve every option,” including legislation to establish a commission under the 25th Amendment that could recommend Trump’s removal, in addition to impeachment. Final decisions on whether to impeach have not yet been made, Democratic sources said.
“It is the hope of Members that the President will immediately resign. But if he does not, I have instructed the Rules Committee to be prepared to move forward with Congressman Jamie Raskin’s 25th Amendment legislation and a motion for impeachment,” Pelosi said. “Accordingly, the House will preserve every option — including the 25th Amendment, a motion to impeach or a privileged resolution for impeachment.”
House Democrats plan to introduce their impeachment resolution on Monday, when the House next comes into session. The latest draft of the impeachment resolution, includes one article of impeachment for “incitement of insurrection.” The House Rules Committee is expected to meet Monday or Tuesday to approve a rule that would govern floor debate for an impeachment resolution and Raskin’s bill to create a new mechanism to invoke the 25th Amendment.
Under that timeline, an impeachment vote is possible by the middle of next week.
But in a memo to fellow senators Friday, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell indicated that the earliest the Senate could take up any House-passed articles of impeachment would most likely be right after Trump’s term ends, saying that the Senate cannot consider the articles while in recess.
Democrats are cognizant of the fact they have little time to force Trump out of office and moving forward with impeachment could force the Senate to hold an impeachment trial in the first days of the new Biden administration, which would amount to a major distraction from the new President’s ambitious new agenda.
Pelosi told her caucus on their call Friday afternoon that she prefers Trump resigning or Vice President Mike Pence and the Cabinet invoking the 25th Amendment to remove him from power. But she made clear that if that does not happen, impeachment was a real option, noting there was more backing within the House Democratic caucus for impeaching Trump now than there was in 2019 when Trump was first impeached, according to multiple sources on the call.
“The President chose to be an insurrectionist,” Pelosi said, according to one source said. “How we go forward is a subject for this caucus.”
Pelosi began the call solemn and emotional about the events that have transpired over the last 72 hours. She did not give a sense of timing or details on potential articles of impeachment, but she made clear the House has the power to impeach even with less than two weeks left in Trump’s term. Democrats also discussed Raskin’s legislation to create a commission through the 25th Amendment, an option that could be used as an alternative to impeachment.