Rep. Tom Cole opposes impeachment of Trump, calls for healing
Rep. Tom Cole said Tuesday that House Democrats should be “seeking a path toward healing” instead of moving quickly toward impeaching President Donald Trump for allegedly inciting the riot at the Capitol that left six people dead and many others injured.
At a late-night meeting of the House Rules Committee Tuesday, Cole, R-Moore, said, “I understand the anger and emotion all members feel after the events of last Wednesday. And yes, the president does bear some responsibility for what occurred. Certainly, he will have to deal with the ramifications of Wednesday’s events for the rest of his life.
“But I differ with my colleagues in the majority in that I do not believe their proposed course of action — impeachment — is the appropriate solution. I can think of no action the House can take that is more likely to further divide the American people than by putting the country through the trauma of another impeachment.”
The House is expected to vote Wednesday on a single article of impeachment that accuses the president of inciting an insurrection on Jan. 6, when mobs of Trump supporters took over the Capitol as Congress was counting the electoral votes that sealed President-elect Joe Biden’s victory over Trump..
Though most Republicans are expected to vote against impeaching their party’s president, one of the top House GOP leaders said Tuesday that she would support the article.
Rep. Liz Cheney, of Wyoming, who serves as chair of the House Republican Conference, said, “Much more will become clear in coming days and weeks, but what we know now is enough. The President of the United States summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack. Everything that followed was his doing.
“None of this would have happened without the President. The President could have immediately and forcefully intervened to stop the violence. He did not. There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.”
Just before the riot, Trump spoke to thousands of supporters he had helped summon to Washington on the day the Electoral College votes must be counted. Trump has alleged for several weeks that the election was stolen, and he urged members of Congress to challenge electoral votes from some states won by Biden.
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Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., the chairman of the Rules Committee, said Tuesday that Trump’s speech to the rally on Jan. 6 “was an attempt to prevent Congress from fulfilling its constitutional responsibility” to count the electoral votes.
“It was an insurrection,” he said.
Cole said that Democrats, in their rush to impeach the president, were foregoing the kind of investigation and committee hearings that have preceded previous impeachments.
“And they are foregoing an opportunity for the president, as the accused, to be heard,” Cole said. “Not because his reckless words are deserving of a defense, but because the presidency itself demands due process in impeachment proceedings.”
Cole said, “As I speak today, we are just eight days from the end of President Trump’s term of office. Next week, President-Elect Biden will take the oath of office as the President of the United States. At a time like this, we should be seeking a path toward healing for the American people.”
Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, D-Penn., argued that an “unrepentant” Trump was a “clear and present danger” in the next week.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., named impeachment managers on Tuesday night and said, “It is their constitutional and patriotic duty to present the case for the President’s impeachment and removal.
“They will do so guided by their great love of country, determination to protect our democracy and loyalty to our oath to the Constitution.”
Should the House impeach the president, the Senate trial is not expected to be held until after Biden is inaugurated.
Earlier Tuesday, Vice President Mike Pence sent a letter to Pelosi saying he would not convene cabinet members to determine whether Trump was fit to serve. The letter was received as the House considered a resolution urging Pence to take such an action under the 25th Amendment.