Letter to the GOP on Impeaching Trump for Insurrection

To all Republicans in the United States Senate and House of Representatives:

Donald Trump will be impeached for inciting insurrection, because he incited insurrection. The 14th Amendment prohibits you from using your office to provide him aid or comfort.

Since many in the Republican Party seem to think it would be politically risky to break from Trump—even after he sent armed paramilitaries to attempt a coup and again today threatened to attack our country—all who would stand by him need to rethink their notions of future electability.

  • You cannot campaign as being for “law and order” if you don’t stand firm against Trump’s incitement of armed insurrection against the Constitution.
  • You cannot call yourself a patriot if you don’t stand firm against the seditious conspiracy and ALL of its adherents.
  • You will not be able to claim the mantle of Lincoln if, when your nation was attacked by Nazis and traitors, you stood by and asked that the rest of the country try to understand them.
  • To use the language of Title 18, Section 2383, of the US Code, Trump incited and “set on foot” a gang of paramilitary attackers to storm the Capitol.
  • The attackers killed a police officer who died bravely defending you. Trump took the life of Officer Sicknick and sent terrorists to kill the Vice President.
  • No one will ever take you seriously as pro-life, or even minimally loyal to anything, if you use your vote to give aid to Trump.

While the Capitol endured its first armed attack since the War of 1812, and a terrorist coup plot is still underway (in all 50 states, according to the FBI), the nation is also weathering an unprecedented cyber attack from foreign adversaries. And, it must be recognized, the bot army used by Trump to radicalize millions is a form of cyber war.

It may feel daunting, if you were a pro-Trump Republican in 2020, to challenge the menacing force of that bot army; you may even be facing threats from pro-Trump extremists, but when that bot army is no longer able to aid Trump in his attack on the republic, all anyone will see is complicity.

A vote by any Republican to aid Trump in his quest to escape justice—in the wake of a violent attack on the US Capitol, in the midst of an ongoing coup plot—signals: disloyalty to the law, disloyalty to the republic, disloyalty to all Americans, and profound corruption.

That is what history will remember of anyone who sides with Trump after he sent terrorists to kill their fellow elected officials. You will also have to campaign as someone who, while dozens of officers were harmed protecting you and one killed, refused to honor their sacrifice and instead sided with their attacker.

Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution states plainly that any person giving aid or comfort to insurrection is ineligible ever to hold office of any kind at any level, unless 2/3 of both houses vote to allow it. The 2/3 margin is there as an indication that the Constitution wants all members to think about these questions outside of any question of party allegiance, as matters of transcendent moral clarity, as stewards of our Constitutional democracy.

If you find yourself risking the appearance of sympathy for those who incite insurrection, it would be wise—the Constitution warns—to measure your choice not against what your partisans think, but against the moral center of gravity of the broad bipartisan majority of your colleagues.

However reluctant you are, as a Republican, to risk alienating Trump voters who may not know all the details, the Constitution demands you be suspicious of any fellow Republican telling you it is OK to side with the insurrectionist, or that you might get away with saying you were just “seeking unity” or “thought it wasn’t the right time”.

The Constitution clearly prohibits your use of office to aid Trump in any way, in these circumstances.

Donald Trump betrayed his country, betrayed your voters, betrayed the Constitution, betrayed you. He sent terrorists to kill key officials and possibly you, yourself. His actions violated the Constitution and betrayed his oath. He now demands you do it as well, to defend him.

You have a duty to yourself, your family, your country and your God, to honor the rule of law, honor the Constitution, honor the sacrifice of Officer Sicknick and of all who rest in Arlington, to vote to impeach and remove Donald Trump for the unforgivable crime of inciting insurrection.

Joseph Robertson
Democracy Witness


UPDATES


Tuesday, January 12, 2021, at 4:20 pm EST

House Republican leaders will not pressure members to protect Trump

According to the Reuters news service:

U.S. House Republican leaders have decided not to lobby their members against voting to impeach President Donald Trump, two House leadership aides told Reuters on Tuesday, confirming a report in the New York Times.

Republican leaders won’t pressure members to vote against either a resolution expected on the floor Tuesday evening that calls for starting the Constitution’s 25th amendment process of removing the president, or an impeachment resolution expected in the House of Representatives on Wednesday, the aides said. “Both are votes of conscience,” one said.

The announcement comes after the FBI and Department of Justice announced they are building charges of seditious conspiracy against Capitol Hill attackers and planners.


Tuesday, January 12, 2021, at 4:44 pm EST

Republican Senate Leader McConnell “is pleased” with impeachment of Trump

According to The New York Times:

Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, has told associates that he believes President Trump committed impeachable offenses and that he is pleased that Democrats are moving to impeach him, believing that it will make it easier to purge him from the party, according to people familiar with his thinking. The House is voting on Wednesday to formally charge Mr. Trump with inciting violence against the country.

10:38 pm EST—Axios is reporting McConnell is leaning toward voting to convict Trump in the Senate impeachment trial. According to Axios:

This would represent one of the most shocking and damning votes in the history of American politics, by the most powerful Republican in Congress.


Tuesday, January 12, 2021, at 4:58 pm EST

Rep. Katko becomes first Republican to confirm he will vote to impeach Trump

Rep. Katko (R-NY), in a statement to local newsroom Syracuse.com, announced:

To allow the president of the United States to incite this attack without consequence is a direct threat to the future of our democracy. For that reason, I cannot sit by without taking action. I will vote to impeach this president.

Republican support for Trump’s impeachment has grown as the gravity and intent of the attack on Capitol Hill became clear, and as some key leaders have spoken out.


Tuesday, January 12, 2021, at 5:40 pm EST

House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney will vote to impeach Trump

In a statement released late this afternoon, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) announced she would vote to impeach Donald Trump for incitement to insurrection. Rep. Cheney is the Chair of the Republican Conference in the US House of Representatives. Her statement reads:

On January 6, 2021 a violent mob attacked the United States Capitol to obstruct the process of our democracy and stop the counting of presidential electoral votes. This insurrection caused injury, death and destruction in the most sacred space in our Republic.

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.

I will vote to impeach the President.


Tuesday, January 12, 2021, at 6:18 pm EST

Rep. Kinzinger (R-IL) announces he will vote to impeach Donald Trump

A statement released by Rep. Adam Kinzinger (IL-16) reads, in part:

There is no doubt in my mind that the President of the United States broke his oath of office and incited this insurrection. He used his position in the Executive to attack the Legislative. So in assessing the articles of impeachment brought before the House, I must consider: if these actions–the Article II branch inciting a deadly insurrection against the Article I branch–are not worthy of impeachment, then what is an impeachable offense?

I will vote in favor of impeachment.


Tuesday, January 12, 2021, at 10:24 pm EST

Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) will vote to impeach

This evening, while the House of Representatives debated a resolution urging the Vice President to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office as unfit, Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan became the fourth House Republican to publicly state his intention to vote to impeach Trump for incitement of insurrection. His statement read, in part:

The Congress must hold President Trump to account and send a clear message that our country cannot and will not tolerate any effort by any President to impede the peaceful transfer of power from one President to the next. Thus, I will vote to impeach.


Tuesday, January 12, 2021, at 11:48 pm EST

Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) announces she will vote to impeach

Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) issued a scathing statement tonight explaining why she will vote to impeach Donald Trump for incitement to insurrection. Her statement read, in part:

The President of the United States incited a riot aiming to halt the peaceful transfer of power… That riot led to five deaths… terrorists roamed the Capitol, hunting the Vice President and the Speaker of the House.

Hours went by before the President did anything meaningful to stop the attack… The President attacked Vice President Mike Pence while Pence was in a secure room having fled from the mob that had breached the Senate floor threatening to hang him…

I believe President Trump acted against his oath of office, so I will vote to impeach him.


Wednesday, January 13, 2021, at 3:52 pm EST

Rep. Peter Meijer (R-MI) will vote to impeach

As the House of Representatives debated the merits of the case against Donald Trump for incitement of insurrection, Rep. Peter Meijer of Michigan joined the growing list of Republicans who will vote to impeach. He released a statement reading, in part:

We saw profiles in courage during the assault on the Capitol. Police officers, badly outnumbered, putting their lives on the line to save others. Members of Congress barricading doors and caring for colleagues. A Vice President who fearlessly remained in the Capitol and refused to bow to the mob.

There was no such courage from our President who betrayed and misled millions… The one man who could have restored order, prevented the deaths of five Americans including a Capitol Police officer, and avoided the desecration of the Capitol shrank from leadership when our country needed it most.

As gallows were erected on Capitol grounds and members of the mob changed “Hang Mike Pence”, the President assailed the Vice President… The President also released a video expressing his admiration for those who stormed the Capitol…

The President betrayed his oath of office by seeking to undermine our constitutional process, and he bears responsibility for inciting the violent acts of insurrection last week. With a heavy heart, I will vote to impeach President Donald J. Trump.


Wednesday, January 13, 2021, at 9:00 pm EST

HOUSE IMPEACHES TRUMP FOR INCITEMENT OF INSURRECTION

A bipartisan majority of the House of Representatives has voted to impeach Donald Trump for Incitement of Insurrection, by a margin of 232 to 197. 10 Republicans joined all of the Democrats in voting to impeach Trump for his role in the violent attack on the Capitol one week ago. Historians and reporters quickly noted this was “the most bipartisan” vote to impeach a US president in history.

Read more here.

Respond to Letter to the GOP on Impeaching Trump for Insurrection

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