US House of Reps votes 223-205 to ask vice president Pence to strip Trump of power

Lawmakers in the United States House of Representatives on Tuesday night adopted a resolution that would compel Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment after President Trump incited a mob attack on the Capitol last week.

However, in a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi earlier in the evening, Mr. Pence rejected the effort, the New York Times reported.

The House voted on Tuesday night as lawmakers warned they would impeach the president on Wednesday if Mr. Pence did not comply.

Lawmakers, escorted by armed guards into a heavily fortified Capitol, adopted the nonbinding measure just before midnight largely along party lines. The final vote was 223 to 205 to implore Mr. Pence to declare Mr. Trump “incapable of executing the duties of his office and to immediately exercise powers as acting president.”

“We’re trying to tell him that the time of a 25th Amendment emergency has arrived,” Representative Jamie Raskin, Democrat of Maryland and the author of the resolution, said before the vote. “It has come to our doorstep. It has invaded our chamber.”

Only one Republican, Representative Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, voted in favour of the resolution.

The House proceeded after vice president Pence sent a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday. “I do not believe that such a course of action is in the best interest of our nation or consistent with our Constitution,” he wrote. “I will not now yield to efforts in the House of Representatives to play political games at a time so serious in the life of our nation.”

Almost all Republicans lined up in opposition. They did little to defend Mr. Trump’s behaviour but argued that Congress had no role telling the vice president what to do.

“The vice president has given you your answer, before you asked the question,” said Representative Dan Bishop, Republican of North Carolina. “Your ultimatum does violence to a core feature of the architecture of the Constitution.”

Democrats planned to reconvene on Wednesday to vote on a single article of impeachment charging Mr. Trump with “inciting violence against the government of the United States.” The rioters last week ransacked the seat of American government and killed a Capitol Police officer.

Every single Democrat was expected to vote to impeach, and Republicans were bracing for as many as two dozen of their members to follow suit.

Breaking with Mr. Trump, Republicans were not formally pressuring lawmakers to oppose either vote. Their leaders were treading carefully, navigating an extremely complex and fast-moving political environment that threatened the cohesion of the party and that could inflict lasting damage on the country.

Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, had told associates that he was fine with the House moving forward with impeachment and that Mr. Trump had committed impeachable offences, according to people familiar with his thinking.

 

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