Materials In Support of Impeaching Donald John Trump For High Crimes and Misdemeanors

This is the introduction to the document issued today by Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee in support of impeaching the president:

The Constitution grants the House of Representatives the “sole Power of Impeachment,” not merely as a safeguard for the nation between elections, but also in cases where the removal of the President is urgent and necessary to preserve the security of the constitutional order. The House must invoke this power now to impeach President Txxxx for inciting an insurrection on January 6, 2021. President Txxxx engaged in high Crimes and Misdemeanors when he urged his supporters to storm the United States Capitol Building and then failed to stop the ensuing violence. His actions marked the culmination of an extensive and unprecedented effort to overturn the results of the presidential election.

As alleged in the Article of Impeachment and described in this report, President Txxxx has acted in a manner grossly incompatible with self-governance and the rule of law. His continued hold on the Office of the Presidency, even for only a few more days, represents a clear and present danger to the United States.

President Txxxx has engaged in a prolonged effort to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election and maintain his grip on power. He has spent months spreading disinformation about the results—falsely claiming that he “won by a landslide,” that the election was being “stolen,” and that the reported results are somehow fraudulent. He has stated that it would be illegitimate to accept the results of the election as certified by state officials and upheld by state and federal courts, and he has implied that accepting those results would pose an existential threat to the country, its democracy, and the freedoms of his political supporters. He has directly threatened government officials to “find” lost votes or face criminal penalties, encouraged his own Vice President to unlawfully overturn the election results and, ultimately, incited his supporters to take violent action and prevent the counting of the election results.

President Txxxx invited his political supporters to Washington, D.C. on January 6, 2021, the day fixed by law for the counting of electoral votes. The crowd that gathered in the Ellipse that morning was large, angry, and widely reported to be preparing for violent action. At that rally, the President delivered an incendiary speech to his supporters. Among other statements, President Txxxx reiterated false claims that “we won this election, and we won it by a landslide.” He stated that “if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.” And then he exhorted his supporters to “walk down Pennsylvania Avenue” to prevent the Congress from confirming the election of “an illegitimate President.”

These comments directly incited a violent attack on the Capitol that threatened the safety and lives of the Vice President, the Speaker of the House, and the President pro tempore of the Senate, the first three individuals in the line of succession to the presidency. The rioters attacked law enforcement officers, unleashed chaos and terror among Members and staffers and their families, occupied the Senate Chamber and Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office, ransacked other offices, vandalized government property, and succeeded in interfering with Congress’s performance of its constitutional duty to count the electoral votes. Five people were killed, including a U.S. Capitol police officer, and more than fifty police officers were seriously injured.

It is indisputable that the President encouraged—and that his actions foreseeably resulted in—the terrorist attack that occurred. This alone would constitute grounds for impeachment. There is no place in our government for any officer, much less a President, who incites armed insurrection to overturn the results of our democratic elections. Even after it became clear that a mob of his supporters had breached the Capitol perimeter and was violently attacking those inside, President Txxxx failed to take steps to stop the insurrection. While violent insurrectionists occupied parts of the Capitol, President Txxxx ignored or rejected repeated real-time entreaties from Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to appeal to his followers to exit the Capitol. Instead, he continued to encourage his supporters and excoriated the Vice President for not “hav[ing] the courage to do what should have been done.” He called at least one Republican Senator, not to check on his safety, but to ask for additional delay to the certification of the election when the Congress reconvened.

When he finally issued a public statement addressing the violence hours after it began, President Txxxx persisted in falsely asserting that “we had an election that was stolen from us,” and he told the rioters, “[w]e love you, you’re very special.” And at the end of the day—when the extent of the insurrection and the damage to our nation was clear—he declared that “[t]hese are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away.” President Txxxx concluded: “Remember this day forever!” Most recently, the President publicly denied responsibility for the attack, claiming his words were “totally appropriate.”

The threat that manifested in the Capitol on January 6, 2021 is ongoing. The emergency is still with us. Reports suggest that the President’s supporters are threatening additional violence in Washington, D.C. and in state capitals across the nation. The Fourteenth Amendment prohibits an officer of the United States who has “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” from “hold[ing] any office . . . under the United States.” Yet, despite widespread and bipartisan calls for his immediate resignation, the President has refused to leave office. The Vice President has thus far failed to invoke the Twenty-fifth Amendment to remove the President from office. The House has taken every step short of impeachment to contain the danger. Now it is time to consider this last, grave, necessary step.

Impeachment is not a punishment of prior wrongs, but a protection against future evils. It is true that the President’s remaining term is limited—but a President capable of fomenting a violent insurrection in the Capitol is capable of greater dangers still. He must be removed from office as swiftly as the Constitution allows. He must also be disqualified to prevent the recurrence of the extraordinary threat he presents. For these reasons, the House must impeach President Donald J. Trump.