DENVER – Colorado Democrats continued to press to have President Donald Trump removed from office one way or another Friday as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi continued to leave the door open for another round of impeachment proceedings should he not resign.
Pelosi said Friday evening that she and others were still deliberating whether to move ahead with impeachment for Trump after he incited his supporters to storm and overrun the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday but said her hope was still that Trump would resign.
President-elect Biden, who will be inaugurated in less than 12 days, said Friday he was leaving it in the hands of the House and Senate to decide whether to proceed with impeachment or any other ideas floated the past two days to get Trump out of office for the final days of his presidency.
Though all six of Colorado’s Democratic members of Congress committed Thursday to supporting a second impeachment or Vice President Pence invoking the 25th Amendment, some calls for impeachment grew more intense Friday as the 25th Amendment became less and less likely to be invoked with Pence’s silence.
Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., who presided over Trump’s first impeachment, sent a letter to House Democratic leadership calling on them to reconvene the chamber to proceed with impeachment as soon as possible. That came after she said Thursday that she and other sponsors would introduce new articles of impeachment Monday.
DeGette tweeted Friday afternoon she would be ready to get back to the House for proceedings as soon as Saturday.
“Every moment President Trump remains in office, he remains a danger to the American people,” she said. “The House should meet to vote on his impeachment as soon as practicable – even this weekend, if possible.”
Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-Colo., said Thursday he supported invoking the 25th Amendment but on Friday night expanded his list of possibilities.
“It is clear the violence we saw this week was fomented by President Trump and his enablers,” he tweeted. “While the focus must remain on Jan. 20 and the beginning of the Biden-Harris administration, I am considering all constitutional options to remove Trump from office.”
Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., who signed on to the Texas lawsuit seeking to overturn the results of the presidential election and who has gone along with election fraud claims outside of Colorado despite not objecting to the Electoral College certification on Wednesday, in a statement compared the discussions of impeachment by Democrats directly to those actions of other Republicans who opposed the certification of the vote.
“That effort was misguided from the start, and I have voiced my concerns about that attempt to undermine our Constitution and the Electoral College,” he said. “Now, today, we see that Democrats are responding in kind, with their own assault on the Constitution, and their repeated attempts to expel the president of the United States from office through impeachment.”
“Today, I pray for our nation and for the peaceful transfer of power to occur once again, as it has consistently in our past. An impeachment at this moment, less than two weeks before our new president will be sworn into office, is a disgrace to our Constitution, to the American people, and to the institutions we cherish,” Buck added.
Rep. Lauren Boebert – the newly-elected Republican from Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District and an ardent supporter of Trump’s who has also stoked conspiracy theories about election fraud, objected to Arizona’s vote certification and tweeted Wednesday morning “Today is 1776” before the riots began – said she would not support removing Trump from office.
“At a time where we want our country to unify, talk of using the 25th Amendment or entering into expedited impeachment proceedings are the last thing we need,” Boebert tweeted. “Either Democrats are going to be honest about calls for unity or they will continue with this rhetoric. Can’t do both.”
After saying Thursday that he would support the invocation of the 25th Amendment by Pence, Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., said Friday that Trump should resign, and if not, that he still believes the 25th Amendment should be invoked. But he also said he would support a move by the House to impeach the president again. Bennet voted to convict Trump after he was impeached last year.
Bennet said in an interview that the Senate is exploring whether the president could be convicted after his term ends in the event that he is impeached so that he can never hold public office again, a step that Bennet said would constitute holding Trump accountable for Wednesday’s actions.
“The reason that’s important is that it’s not about vengeance, it’s about upholding our values and telling ourselves and the world that we reject authoritarianism here in the United States; we reject political violence in our nation’s capital,” Bennet said. “He incited that, and he can’t wriggle off that hook, I don’t think.”
Bennet said that both Democrats and Republicans were involved in the discussions about whether the Constitution would allow such a move. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said Friday that Trump should resign and said that she would think about leaving the GOP if it “has become nothing more than the party of Trump.” The Washington Post also reported Friday night that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., was circulating a memo discussing how a potential trial would work after Trump left the White House.
“So, we’ll have to see. Obviously, anything that we do needs to comply with the constitution, but it’s important for us to make sure that we do the hard work. We’re pretty urgent about it so we’ll see what we learn over the weekend,” Bennet said in the interview.
The senator, back home in Denver, added that he believed he had seen some change in the mindsets of some Republican senators after Wednesday’s riot as he discussed all the senators being rushed to a separate building when the Capitol was overrun.
“In a completely divided place, typically divided, there was one unifying principle. Which was we wanted to get back in that room as fast as we possibly could, onto the Senate floor, and be able to show the world that this democracy was working, and that we couldn’t be intimidated by these angry mobs,” Bennet said. “And it was really nice to see that unanimity. We went back to the Senate and then we voted with a vast bipartisan vote.”
Bennet said he was happy the nation’s institutions held in the face of the attempted insurrection and that he was optimistic for the future no matter when or how Trump is relieved of the presidency.
“As we go into this next administration, my hope is that he will continue to transmit to the country – that is Joe Biden – a message of unification and one that brings us together. Because we can’t keep going on the way we’ve been going on the last 10 years and expect to do the work the next generation of Coloradans or Americans needs for us to do,” he said. “…And one party is not going to be able to do that by themselves. We need both parties working together.”