FOR THE WEEK OF JAN. 11, 2021
Strains on democracy: Presidential election test, violent Capitol chaos, new impeachment push
Share a vivid quote from today's coverage of Congress.
Pick a reader comment (letter to editor or under story) you agree with and tell why.
List words that describe your emotions about what happened at the Capitol.
You are witnessing an important chapter in American history. Your newspaper is the textbook. After days of turmoil in Washington that's watched around the world, momentum for impeaching President Trump a second time is growing among congressional Democrats and some Republicans. The House of Representatives plans fast-track action on an impeachment resolution with just one accusation against the outgoing president: "incitement of insurrection." It will be introduced Monday and could be voted on by Wednesday, says House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The proposed charge stems from a fiery speech by Trump last Wednesday at a "Save America Rally" right before hundreds of supporters broke into the Capitol during a post-election ritual by representatives, senators and Vice President Mike Pence. The officials were preparing to certify Electoral College votes from the Nov. 3 victory by Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, who take the oaths of office Jan. 20. The process, interrupted for hours by mayhem that cleared the Senate and House floors, finally was completed after midnight. Rioters fatally beat a Capitol Police officer during the invasion and one woman was shot to death by a security officer while trying to climb into a members-only area. It was the worst breach of Capitol security since the War of 1812, when British troops started a fire in the building. This time, Trump revved up followers at Wednesday's rally by saying: "We will stop the steal. … You'll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength and you have to be strong."A day later, he was more subdued. "There will be an orderly transition" to the Biden administration, Trump said in a statement. By Friday night, 57% of Americans polled by Reuters news service said they wanted him removed immediately, even though his term ends next week. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., won't allow an impeachment trial even if the House passes its resolution. (The Republican-led Senate didn't convict Trump last February after a House impeachment. No president has been impeached twice for high crimes and misdemeanors.) Democrats control both part of Congress after Jan. 20, and a Senate "trial" still can happen after Trump is gone. Conviction would mean he’d never again run for any federal office.
U.S. allies also are uneasy. "A universal idea — that of 'one person, one vote' — is undermined" by the baseless election challenges, President Emmanuel Macron of France said last week in Paris, standing before the Stars and Stripes as he addressed his country. "We believe in the strength of our democracies. We believe in the strength of American democracy."
Republican senator says: "I want him to resign. I want him out. He has caused enough damage" -- Lisa Murkowski of Alaska
Twitter says: "We have permanently suspended the [president's personal] account due to the risk of further incitement of violence." -- Statement last Friday
Democrat in Congress says: "We have witnessed a peaceful and orderly transfer of power between presidential administrations for 224 years. The events that unfolded on Jan. 6 represent a stark, dangerous, and sad departure from this precedent, and it will forever be remembered as a dark day in our nation's history." – Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich.
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