Capitol police were overrun,  little defense against rioters

Supporters of President Donald Trump climb on an inauguration platform on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

WASHINGTON — All five of Arizona’s Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives are among the 214 who have signed on to a measure to impeach President Donald Trump that was introduced Monday, charging him with inciting the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol last week.

Supporters of the impeachment effort say they would have enough votes to send charges against Trump — who is 9 days away from leaving office — to the Senate for a second time.

There are 222 Democrats in the House and 211 Republicans, with one race still undecided and one vacancy, so Democrats would need 217 votes.

Four Democrats who serve on the House Judiciary Committee — Reps. David Cicilline of Rhode Island, Ted Lieu of California, Jamie Raskin of Maryland and Jerrold Nadler of New York — introduced the impeachment resolution.

“Most important of all, I can report that we now have the votes to impeach,” Cicilline wrote on Twitter as he posted a copy of the resolution.

The impeachment measure accuses Trump of making statements that “encouraged — and foreseeably resulted in — lawless action at the Capitol, such as: ‘if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.’”

The measure also cites Trump’s phone call directing Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” votes to overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s win in the state.

“In all this, President Trump gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of government,” the measure reads. “He threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power, and imperiled a coequal branch of government. He thereby betrayed his trust as president, to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.”

Arizona Democrats Ruben Gallego, Raul Grijalva, Ann Kirkpatrick, Tom O’Halleran and Greg Stanton all signed on to the resolution.

“As a former law enforcement officer and criminal investigator, I spent my career gathering facts and evidence to pursue truth and justice. Today, I am using the facts at hand to inform my decision to act to remove a threat to our nation: Donald Trump refused to concede in a free and fair election and incited insurrection by domestic terrorists who scaled walls and strode armed through our Capitol, threatening lives and desecrating the building that represents our very democracy," O'Halleran said in a statement.

“In our democracy, we hold elected officials accountable when they break the public trust and put their own interests before the good of our country.”

The impeachment process could begin as soon as Wednesday, following a final effort to ask Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office, if a majority of the Cabinet also approves.

Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) sought on Monday morning to bring up for unanimous approval a resolution from Raskin that would urge Pence to begin the 25th Amendment process. Republicans objected to that action.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has said the chamber will hold a floor vote on the resolution Tuesday, before moving to the impeachment process.

The impeachment process would typically begin in the House Judiciary Committee, but it is expected to go directly to the full House. If the article of impeachment is approved, the Senate would then hold a trial, which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said would not begin until Jan. 19, the day before Biden is set to be sworn in.

At least two Senate Republicans have called for Trump to resign: Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania.

Toomey said in broadcast interviews over the weekend that he believes Trump “committed impeachable offenses,” and suggested that the outgoing president could potentially face “criminal liability” related to the Capitol insurrection. But Toomey stopped short of saying that he would vote to convict Trump if the House does send over articles of impeachment.

“Whether impeachment can pass the United States Senate is not the issue,” Hoyer told reporters Monday morning, according to a pool feed.

“The issue is we have a president most of us believe participated in encouraging an insurrection and an attack on this building and on democracy and trying to subvert the counting of the presidential ballot.”

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Laura Olson covers the nation's capital as a senior reporter for States Newsroom, a network of nonprofit outlets that includes Arizona Mirror.

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