WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats' momentum for a fresh drive to quickly impeach outgoing President Donald Trump gained support Saturday, and a top Republican said the president's role in the deadly riot at the Capitol by a violent mob of Trump supporters was worthy of rebuke.

Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., said he believed Trump had committed “impeachable offenses.” But he did not explicitly say whether he would vote to remove the president from office at the conclusion of a Senate trial if the House sent over articles of impeachment.

“I don’t know what they are going to send over and one of the things that I’m concerned about, frankly, is whether the House would completely politicize something,” Toomey said Saturday on Fox News Channel, speaking of the Democratic-controlled House.

“I do think the president committed impeachable offenses, but I don’t know what is going to land on the Senate floor, if anything," Toomey said.

Late Saturday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sent a letter to her Democratic colleagues reiterating that Trump must be held accountable — but stopped short of committing to an impeachment vote. Still, she told her caucus, “I urge you to be prepared to return to Washington this week.”

“It is absolutely essential that those who perpetrated the assault on our democracy be held accountable,” Pelosi wrote. “There must be a recognition that this desecration was instigated by the President.”

Pelosi said House Democrats “will be proceeding with meetings with Members and Constitutional experts and others.”

The new Democratic effort to stamp Trump's presidential record — for the second time and days before his term ends — with the indelible mark of impeachment gained more supporters Saturday. Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I, a leader of the House effort to draft impeachment articles — or charges — accusing Trump of inciting insurrection, said his group had grown to include 185 co-sponsors.

Lawmakers plan to formally introduce the proposal on Monday in the House, where articles of impeachment must originate. If Democrats decide to move forward, a vote could be possible by Wednesday — exactly one week before Democrat Joe Biden becomes president at noon on Jan. 20.

The articles, if passed by the House, could then be transmitted to the Senate for a trial, with senators acting as jurors who would ultimately vote on whether to acquit or convict Trump. If convicted, Trump would be removed from office and succeeded by the vice president.

Earlier Saturday, Pelosi told her San Francisco constituents during an online video conference that it is "a decision that we have to make.”

Potentially complicating that decision is what it means for Biden and the beginning of his presidency. While reiterating that he has long viewed Trump as unfit for office, Biden on Friday sidestepped a question about impeachment, saying what Congress does “is for them to decide.”

If the House decided to impeach, the soonest the Senate could begin an impeachment trial under the current calendar would be Jan. 20, Inauguration Day.

A violent and largely white mob of Trump supporters overpowered police, broke through security lines and rampaged through the Capitol on Wednesday, forcing lawmakers to scatter as they were putting the final, formal touches on Biden’s victory over Trump in the Electoral College.

The crowd surged to the domed symbol of American democracy following a rally near the White House, where Trump repeated his bogus claims that the election was stolen from him and urged his supporters to march in force toward the Capitol.

Five people, including a Capitol police officer, died as a result of the siege.

“It has been an epiphany for the world to see that there are people in our country led by this president, for the moment, who have chosen their whiteness over democracy,” Pelosi said of the attack.

She added: “This cannot be exaggerated. The complicity, not only the complicity, the instigation of the president of United States, must and will be addressed.”

No. 4 House Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries of New York reiterated support for moving against what he deemed “an act of sedition that was incited and encouraged by Donald Trump.”

Speaking of Trump, Jeffries said Saturday: “He should be impeached, convicted and thrown out of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and forever banished to the dustbin of history."

Outrage over the attack and Trump's role in egging it on capped a divisive, chaotic presidency like few others in the nation’s history. There are less than two weeks until Trump is out of office but Democrats have made clear they don't want to wait that long.

Trump, meanwhile, has few fellow Republicans speaking out in his defense. He's become increasingly isolated, holed up in the White House as he has been abandoned in the aftermath of the riot by many aides, leading Republicans and, so far, two Cabinet members — both women.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, who has long voiced her exasperation with Trump's conduct in office, told the Anchorage Daily News on Friday that he simply “needs to get out.”

Sen. Ben Sasse, another Trump critic, said more important than what happens to Trump “is what happens to the United States people and this union 12 days and beyond.”

But the Nebraska Republican also told “CBS This Morning” on Friday that he “will definitely consider” whatever articles the House sends over because he believes Trump “has disregarded his oath of office” to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution.

After spending many weeks refusing to concede defeat in the November election, Trump promised — after the Capitol riot — to oversee a smooth transfer of power to Biden. He called for reconciliation and healing, but then announced he will not attend the inauguration — the first such presidential snub since just after the Civil War.

———

Superville reported from Wilmington, Delaware. Associated Press writers Alexandra Jaffe, Lisa Mascaro, Mary Clare Jalonick and Zeke Miller contributed to this report.

(20) comments

DickD

Toomey was very truthful, with out going overboard, but leaving no d that he is totally upset and disgusted with Trump.

matts853

Trumpism is a disease. Some of these people they’ve arrested so far are severely mentally ill. Trump and all his enablers have poisoned their minds by lying over and over and over again. It doesn’t matter that Republicans at the highest level of government like Bill Barr, Mitch McConnell, Colon Powell, Jim Mattis, John Kelly, Lindsey Graham etc., plus every court and the Supreme Court that are stacked with Trump appointed judges. God himself could descend from heaven and certify the election for Biden and these people still wouldn’t accept that Trump lost.

We’re heading into very dangerous territory with these people. As more information is coming out on what happened January 6, the attack was far worse than it appeared. This was a violent coup. Some of these people intended to kill Pence and Pelosi and possibly others. It was an organized insurrection. They thought they were acting like patriots but the exact opposite is true. People need to step back and realize how disgracefully Un-American that mob was. They attacked American democracy and for what - because they were conned by Trump into believing the election was stolen from him. It’s perhaps the most viscous and most dangerous lie any president has ever told. Trump and his supporters have disgraced themselves and dishonored the nation. They need to be held accountable.

threecents

The idea that Trumpism is a disease is interesting. Perhaps there is a metagenetic or epigenetic cause. It might be treatable with probiotics or NPR.

threecents

It would be nice if Trump admitted that he lost in a fair election and for him to explain why he claimed he won in a landslide and said he could never concede. There is no healing the country until that happens. He still has to pay somehow for threating governors with prosecution if they could not "find" votes to put him on top. Inciting the mob is impeachable, but the calls to the governors are even worse. And still so many support Trump.❔

Arbit

The government is beyond corrupt. Trump shed light on this corruption. I have heard the testimony from those hundreds of people working the polls and clearly there was election fraud. The politicians want trump out before he exposes more corruption.

Hayduke2

Nonsense!

matts853

They’re beyond rehabilitation, HD.

threecents

Oh wow, we got someone from a dimension where Trump is against corruption.

threecents

Arbit, In this dimension Trump was caught on tape trying to commit election fraud, and there is no actual evidence - as determined by dozens of court cases and recounts and every election expert - of fraud against him. There are only made up and misconstrued stories to support Trump. The funny thing is that a lot of people believe them. It is really sad.

phydeaux994

Arbit, you’ve heard testimony from hundreds of people working the polls??😂🤣 When? Where? I will challenge your assertion. I say you’re not speaking the TRUTH. Are you gonna let me say that about you? Show us your EVIDENCE.

matts853

Trump is the pinnacle of cowardice. He offered up Mike Pence to his supporters out of pure desperation to stay in power. There were people in that mob of seditionists that intended to kill Pence, who’s family happened to be there BTW. They bought into Trump’s lie that Pence had the constitutional authority to simply overturn the election but refused to do so. Trump painted him as disloyal and abandoned him. He never even bothered to ask if he was ok and hasn’t talked with him since. He simply disposed of him like a tissue in a trash can when he was of no further use to him. That’s who your president is, Trump supporters - a disloyal coward.

And now Trump is holed up at the White House, alone and afraid and cut out of the chain of command because the pentagon knows he’s insane. Pence is the de facto president.

And ever oblivious to the big picture, his supporters are now whining that his first amendments rights have been violated because Twitter took his favorite toy away. News flash: Trump has the ability to address the entire world whenever he wants. He could wake up at 2:15 am on a whim and hold a presser or address the nation with whatever delusional thoughts have crossed his mind. But like a cockroach, he’s afraid of the light.

Yes, folks, he’s that bad. Really.

DickD

And as long as Trump doesn't resign, Pence can't pardon him for the federal crimes he has committed.

Greg F

I get that 3cents....it'd be nice to win this weeks Powerball also. Ain't gonna happen.

Greg F

Sedition is a non-bailable offence. Punishment under the Section 124A ranges from imprisonment up to three years to a life term, to which fine may be added. A person charged under this law is barred from a government job. Time for charges against Agent Orange and his mob mentality followers.

pdl603

You are as deranged as the people who spoon feed you this swill. Don’t worry the next four years will allow you and your type to hunt down and destroy those who believe in what President Trump stood for. Your belief in the government as the savior for all will be the downfall of this great country. Rugged individualism will be a thing of the past and your lot will ensure that happens. Good luck to you as you wait for your next government handout. God bless America and President Trump for the great job he did despite the swamp and the left’s resistance.

threecents

OK Pdl, those are fair opinions, but what is your take on Trump's blatant attempts to change the vote counts, and his threats against those who would not cooperate? How about his claim that he won by a landslide?

DickD

Oh, please piddle, tell us what Trump stood for. We can hardly wait.

C.D.Reid

He stood for America First, Dick, why do you people have a problem with that?

Greg F

No, C-Dumb, he stood for corruption, family profiteering and that is it.

francesca_easa

Pdl, I certainly subscribe to America first, self reliance and love of country. But the actions of the past few days are by deranged individuals. I don't care what group you represent, vandalism, graffiti, violence and looting is never to be tolerated.

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