US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a scathing letter to colleagues on Sunday (local time) that the House “will proceed” with bringing legislation to the floor to impeach President Donald Trump.
She said the House will act with solemnity but also urgency with just days remaining before Trump is to leave office on January 20.
“In protecting our Constitution and our Democracy, we will act with urgency, because this President represents an imminent threat to both," she said.
“The horror of the ongoing assault on our democracy perpetrated by this President is intensified and so is the immediate need for action.”
She called on Vice President Mike Pence to convene and mobilise the Cabinet to activate the 25th Amendment and declare Trump incapable of executing the duties of his office.
“After which the Vice President would immediately exercise powers as Acting President,” she said.
She told her caucus, now scattered across the country on a two-week recess, to "be prepared to return to Washington this week" but did not say outright that there would be a vote on impeachment.
“If we do not receive Unanimous Consent, this legislation is planned to be brought up on the Floor the following day. We are calling on the Vice President to respond within 24 hours,” she wrote.
Republican senators tell Trump to “go away”
House Democrats were expected to introduce articles of impeachment on Monday and vote as soon as Tuesday.
Jim Clyburn, the third-ranking House Democrat and a top Biden ally, laid out a plan on Sunday to condemn the President but delay an impeachment trial in the Senate for 100 days.
That would allow President-elect Joe Biden to focus on other priorities when he is inaugurated on January 20.
Meanwhile Republican Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania joined Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska on Sunday in calling for Trump to "resign and go away as soon as possible."
"I think the president has disqualified himself from ever, certainly, serving in office again," Toomey said. "I don't think he is electable in any way."
Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell, has said an impeachment trial could not begin under the current calendar before Inauguration Day, January 20.
While many Republicans have criticised Trump, most feel that impeachment would be divisive in a time of unity.
Still, some Republicans might be supportive.
Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse said he would take a look at any articles that the House sent over. Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger, a frequent Trump critic, said he would "vote the right way" if the matter were put in front of him.
The impeachment articles, if passed by the House, could then be transmitted to the Senate for a trial, with senators acting as jurors to acquit or convict Trump. If convicted, Trump would be removed from office and succeeded by the vice president. It would be the first time a US president had been impeached twice.
Do you have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.