Should the House Impeach President Donald Trump for ‘Inciting an Insurrection’? (H. Res. 24)
Do you support or oppose this bill?
What is H. Res. 24?
(Updated February 5, 2022)
This resolution would impeach President Donald Trump for the “incitement of an insurrection.” It contends that Trump incited an insurrection by making false claims about the results of the election and delivered a speech which encouraged lawlessness from a crowd in which members of whom went on to interfere with the certification of the Electoral College by breaching the Capitol and engaging in “violent, deadly, destructive, and seditious acts.”
Specifically, the resolution notes that after President Trump spent the months leading up to the Electoral College certification, he “repeatedly issued false statements asserting that the Presidential election results were the product of widespread fraud.” On the day of the certification, Trump addressed a crowd in Washington, DC, in which he claimed “we won this election, and we won it by a landslide”, and made statements such as: “if you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore”. The resolution continues to note that the crowd, having been incited by President Trump, “breached and vandalized the Capitol, injured and killed law enforcement personnel, menaced Members of Congress, the Vice President, and Congressional personnel, and engaged in other violent, deadly, destructive, and seditious acts.”
The resolution concludes:
“In all this, President Trump gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of Government. He threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power, and imperiled a coequal branch of Government. He therefore betrayed his trust as President, to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.”
As a simple resolution calling for the impeachment of a federal official, this legislation wouldn’t advance beyond the House if passed. Rather, the Senate would conduct an impeachment trial to consider the charge and a vote by two-thirds of the Senate would be required to convict and remove the president from office (if he is convicted before his term expires at noon on January 20, 2021). If the president is convicted, the Senate can then vote to prohibit him from holding future public office on a simple majority vote.
Argument in favor
President Donald Trump’s actions and remarks incited a violent, deadly mob that stormed the Capitol and interrupted the certification of the Electoral College results, endangered members of Congress and the vice president, and undermined the peaceful transfer of power. He betrayed his oath of office, is unfit to serve, and must be impeached regardless of how much time is left in his term.
This impeachment is nothing more than a partisan attempt to score political points against President Donald Trump in the final days of his term of office. Impeachment detracts from efforts to unite the country at a time when the country is deeply divided. Rushing an impeachment without hearings sets a precedent for the future misuse of one of the most solemn constitutional tools.
President Donald Trump; the office of the presidency; the House of Representatives; and potentially the Senate.
Cost of H. Res. 24
This resolution would have no financial cost.
In-Depth: Reps. David Cicilline (D-RI), Ted Lieu (D-CA), and Jamie Raskin (D-MD) offered the following statement on the introduction of this article of impeachment against President Donald Trump for inciting an insurrection:
“Last Wednesday marked one of the darkest days in the history of our country. After months of agitation and propaganda against the results of the 2020 election, the United States Capitol — the citadel of our democracy —was attacked as President Trump’s supporters attempted to stage a coup and overturn the results of our free and fair presidential election. We cannot allow this unprecedented provocation to go unanswered. Everyone involved in this assault must be held accountable, beginning with the man most responsible for it — President Donald Trump. We cannot begin to heal the soul of this country without first delivering swift justice to all its enemies — foreign and domestic.”
President Donald Trump said in remarks to reporters on his way to visit the border wall that this impeachment is “really a continuation of the greatest witch hunt in the history of politics. It’s ridiculous. It’s absolutely ridiculous.” He added that it is “causing tremendous danger to our country and it’s causing tremendous anger. I want no violence.” In his speech at the border wall in Reynosa-McAllen, Texas, President Trump added:
“Before we begin, I’d like to say that free speech is under assault like never before. The 25th Amendment is of zero risk to me but will come back to haunt Joe Biden and the Biden administration. As the expression goes: Be careful what you wish for. The impeachment hoax is a continuation of the greatest and most vicious witch hunt in the history of our country, and it is causing tremendous anger and pain — far greater than most people will ever understand, which is very dangerous for the USA, especially at this very tender time. And now I’d like to briefly address the events of last week. Millions of our citizens watched on Wednesday as a mob stormed the Capitol and trashed the halls of government. As I have consistently said throughout my administration, we believe in respecting America’s history and traditions, not tearing them down. We believe in the rule of law, not in violence or rioting.”
Constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley wrote an op-ed in The Hill which argued that President Donald Trump’s speech on the day of the Electoral College certification was protected under the First Amendment because he did not explicitly call for violence and told the crowd “to peacefully and patriotically make your voices be heard.” Turley concluded:
“The damage caused by the rioters this week was enormous, however, it will pale in comparison to the damage set from a new precedent of a snap impeachment for speech protected under the First Amendment. It is the very threat that the framers sought to avoid in crafting the impeachment standard. In a process of deliberative judgment, the reference to a snap impeachment is a contradiction. In this new system, guilt is not doubted and innocence is not deliberated. This would do to the Constitution what the violent rioters did to the Capitol and leave it in tatters.”
This legislation has the support of 160 cosponsors, all of whom are Democrats. Several Republicans, including GOP Conference Chair Liz Cheney (R-WY), Reps. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA), John Katko (R-NY), Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), and Fred Upton (R-MI) have indicated they will support impeachment.
Of Note: If the House votes to President Donald Trump, he would become the first president in history to be impeached twice. Trump’s first impeachment occurred in December 2019 when House Democrats voted to impeach him along party-lines over his call to the president of Ukraine. He was later acquitted by the Senate along mostly party-lines with only Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) voting to convict.
Causes (Capitol Riot)
Causes (Electoral College Certification)
Causes (Pelosi on Impeachment)
Summary by Eric Revell(Photo Credit: White House via Flickr / Public Domain)
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