Donald Trump will face a charge of “incitement of insurrection” as House Democrats push forward in their bid to oust the US president in the wake of the Capitol riots.
It comes as the FBI fear a “huge uprising” led by pro-Trump supporters if he is removed from office prior to Inauguration Day, US news outlet ABC News understands.
The House worked swiftly on Monday (local time) as they try to remove Trump from office in his final days of presidency, pushing Vice President Mike Pence and Cabinet to act first.
Trump faces a single charge – “incitement of insurrection” – in an impeachment resolution that could go to a vote by mid-week.
First, Democrats called on Pence to invoke constitutional authority under the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office before January 20, when Democrat Joe Biden is to be inaugurated.
It all adds up to stunning final moments for Trump’s presidency as Democrats and a growing number of Republicans declare he is unfit for office and could do more damage after inciting a mob who ransacked the US Capitol in a deadly siege last Wednesday.
Pelosi says House will impeach Trump
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Sunday the House will proceed with legislation to impeach President Trump as she pushes the vice president and the Cabinet to invoke constitutional authority to force him out, warning that Trump is a threat to democracy after the deadly assault on the Capitol.
“President Trump gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of Government,” the four-page impeachment bill reads.
“He will remain a threat to national security, democracy, and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office,” it reads.
“Donald John Trump engaged in high crimes and misdemeanours by inciting violence against the Government of the United States.”
‘Go away as soon as possible’
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is recalling lawmakers to Washington DC for votes as more Republicans say it’s time for Trump to resign.
Republican Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, joined GOP Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska over the weekend in calling for Trump to “go away as soon as possible”.
During an interview on 60 Minutes aired on Sunday, Pelosi invoked the Watergate era when Republicans in the Senate told President Richard Nixon: “It’s over.”
“That’s what has to happen now,” she said.
As Congress briefly reopened on Monday, uneasiness swept government.
The National Park Service announced it was shutting down public access to the Washington Monument as groups “threaten to disrupt” Biden’s inauguration.
More lawmakers tested positive for Covid-19 after sheltering during the siege.
And new security officials were quickly installed after the Capitol police chief and others were ousted in fallout from the extraordinary attack on the iconic dome of democracy.
A House resolution calling on Pence to invoke constitutional authority to remove Trump from office was blocked by Republicans.
However, the full House is set to hold a roll call vote on that resolution on Tuesday and it is expected to pass.
After that, Pelosi said Pence would have 24 hours to respond.
Next, the House would proceed to impeachment. A vote could come on Wednesday.
Pence has given no indication he is ready to proceed on such a course, which would involve invoking the 25th Amendment to the Constitution with a vote by a majority of the Cabinet to oust Trump before January 20.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, a Democrat of Maryland, offered the resolution during the brief session, and said lawmakers must act to ensure Trump was “removed from the ability to repeat the seditious action that he took”.
It was blocked by Virginia Representative Alex Mooney, a Republican, as other GOP lawmakers stood by him.
Pelosi said the Republicans were enabling Trump’s “unhinged, unstable and deranged acts of sedition to continue. Their complicity endangers America, erodes our Democracy, and it must end”.
FBI fear ‘storming’ from armed protesters nationwide
An FBI bulletin obtained by ABC News indicates information has been received that puts all 50 state Capitols at threat if Trump is removed from office.
The bulletin says an armed group plans to “storm” courthouses and administrative buildings across the country if he is removed, while further events are being planned for the day President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated targeting government offices.
“[An unidentified armed group] have warned that if Congress attempts to remove POTUS via the 25th Amendment, a huge uprising will occur,” the bulletin read.
Police agencies have been advised to ramp up security at the venues feared to be under threat.
Judges across the country, including some nominated by Trump, have repeatedly dismissed cases challenging the election results and Attorney General William Barr, a Trump ally, has said there was no sign of widespread fraud.
The impeachment legislation details Trump’s pressure on state officials in Georgia to “find” him more votes and his White House rally ahead of the Capitol siege, in which he encouraged thousands of supporters last Wednesday to “fight like hell” and march to the building.
The mob bypassed police, broke through security lines and windows and rampaged through the Capitol, forcing lawmakers to scatter as they were finalising Biden’s victory over Trump in the Electoral College.
While some have questioned impeaching the president so close to the end of his term, Democrats and others argue he must be held accountable for his actions and prevented from ever again seeking public office. He would be the only president twice impeached.