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After quickly impeaching President Trump last week, Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin on Sunday said only that the article of impeachment will be delivered to the Senate “soon.”
The Maryland Democrat said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is still “organizing the formal transfer” and it “should be coming up soon.”
The House voted 232 to 197 to approve the article of impeachment charging “incitement of an insurrection” against the president last Wednesday — exactly a week after pro-Trump supporters stormed the Capitol.
Ten Republican House members — including GOP Rep. Liz Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney — voted along with the Democrats.
“This was the most serious presidential crime in the history of the United States of America, the most dangerous crime by a president ever committed against the United States,” Raskin said. “And there are Republicans who are recognizing it, as well as Democrats.”
He suggested that because Democratic and Republican lawmakers were in Congress voting to certify the Electoral College results and experienced the riot first-hand that a prolonged trial in the Senate won’t be needed.
“I guess what I’m saying is, if you invade a police headquarters, and you ransack and rampage the place, and you kill officers and people working in the police headquarters, you don’t need a six-month investigation to determine what happened,” he said.
Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the Senate, said because the chamber is on recess senators wouldn’t be able to begin a trial until at least Inauguration Day when Trump is no longer in office.
Raskin said despite the timing, Congress cannot create a precedent to “let bygones be bygones” because Trump has left office.
Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) echoed Raskin’s comments, saying he believes “it is constitutionally dangerous not to proceed.”
“We just had a president of the United States try to undermine the peaceful transition of power. Try to challenge a fair and free election, and him and his agents, in the moments before from his son to his lawyer, whipping up a crowd to go attack the Capitol,” he said on NBC News’ “Meet the Press.” “So, I believe fundamentally the Senate has an obligation to act.”
Sen. Dick Durbin, the Democratic Senate Whip, said Sunday he will not corral votes to impeach Trump.
“When it comes to an issue of this gravity and constitutional importance, members really have to follow their own conscience,” the Illinois lawmaker said on CNN. “It isn’t a matter of saying, ‘well, the team has to all vote together.’”
“We will, of course, try to find out how members feel, but in terms of arm-twisting, when it comes to impeachment, you just don’t do that,” he added.
But a Senate impeachment trial threatens to upend Biden’s agenda for his first 100 days, issues that include ramping up distribution of the coronavirus vaccine, providing more relief for Americans and confirming his Cabinet appointees.
Incoming White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain said he hopes senators can do more than just concentrate on impeachment.
“During the last time President Trump was tried, the Senate was able to hold confirmation hearings for nominees during the morning, was able to conduct other business. I hope that the Senate leaders, on a bipartisan basis, find a way to move forward on all of their responsibilities,” Klain said on CNN.
“This impeachment trial is one of them. But getting people into the government and getting action on coronavirus is another one of those responsibilities,” he said.
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