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House Democrats filed an article of impeachment against President Donald Trump on Monday charging him with incitement of insurrection.
The House will formally vote on impeaching the president later this week unless Vice President Mike Pence and the Cabinet invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from power.
Business Insider reported last week that the vice president is not inclined to take the drastic step, though a source later told CNN that he has not completely ruled out the option.
Monday’s developments come after Trump incited a deadly riot at the US Capitol on January 6 as Congress was counting up electoral votes in the 2020 election and preparing to finalize President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. The failed insurrection resulted in five deaths, including a 42-year-old Capitol Police officer who died from brain injuries sustained after Trump supporters beat him with a fire extinguisher.
At a rally before Congress convened, Trump urged thousands of his supporters to march to the Capitol and stop Congress from cementing Biden’s win.
“You’ll never take back our country with weakness,” he told the crowd. “You have to show strength, and you have to be strong.”
“We’re going to have to fight much harder,” he said, before the mob started making its way to the US Capitol.
Shortly after Congress began debating Republican election challenges to some states’ electoral votes, rioters breached barricades surrounding the Capitol and easily overtook Capitol Police, some of whom were filmed stepping aside to let the mob swarm into the building and taking selfies with Trump’s supporters.
The insurrectionists went on to ransack lawmakers’ offices and steal property including some records that the Justice Department said may have contained “national security equities.” Some rioters in the pro-Trump mob appeared to be hunting down members of Congress and the vice president.
A crowd of insurrectionists changed to “hang Mike Pence” before breaking into the Capitol, and a Reuters photojournalist said he overheard three rioters saying they wanted to hang the vice president “from a Capitol tree.” A Georgia man was arrested on federal charges over the weekend after sending a text message saying he would “put a bullet” in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and police in Tennessee arrested 30-year old Eric Munchel, who was seen carrying zip-ties, which are used to take hostages, on the Senate floor.
Additional footage and media reports released since the riots indicate that several members of the mob are active law enforcement officers and ex-military members with tactical training. Another man who was seen with zip-ties in the Senate, Larry Rendell Brock, is a US Air Force veteran and was arrested after his ex-wife identified him to the FBI.
The president has been relatively silent since the Capitol siege after being banned from Twitter and blocked from posting on Facebook and Instagram. Parler, a far-right platform popular among violent extremists, was also taken offline Sunday night after being booted from Amazon Web Services’ cloud-hosting platform.
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Source:: Business Insider