United States legislators are pushing to impeach President Donald Trump over recent deadly violence on Capitol Hill, as federal authorities charged more people on Saturday in connection to the pro-Trump riot.
US Representative Ted Lieu said on Saturday that 180 lawmakers had signed on to an Article of Impeachment that would be introduced in the House of Representatives on Monday.
On Friday, Lieu tweeted the impeachment declaration, which accuses Trump of engaging “in high Crimes and Misdemeanors by willfully inciting violence against the Government of the United States”.
Trump “has demonstrated that he will remain a threat to national security, democracy and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office, and has acted in a manner grossly incompatible with self-governance and the rule of law”, it states.
Donald Trump willfully incited his supporters to storm the U.S. Capitol and disrupt the peaceful transition of power. He must be impeached and removed. The Articles of Impeachment we drafted with @RepCicilline and @RepRaskin now has over 150 cosponsors. pic.twitter.com/zjk6i0Wcf4
— Rep. Ted Lieu (@RepTedLieu) January 8, 2021
The rioters stormed the US Capitol on January 6 as Congress met to certify the election victory of President-elect Joe Biden. They had rallied in support of Trump’s repeated claims that November’s presidential contest had been “stolen” from him.
The four-hour occupation of the seat of the US legislature shocked the country and raised questions over security preparations ahead of the well-planned and publicised event.
Five people, including a rioter shot by police as she attempted to enter the House chamber and a Capitol Police officer struck by a fire extinguisher, died during the incident.
Trump finally condemned the violence in a video released on Thursday, vowing “those who broke the law, you will pay”. But in a separate statement, he contended that he totally disagreed “with the outcome of the election”.
More rioters arrested
Meanwhile, in a statement on Saturday, the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) said it had arrested and charged two men whose participation in the Capitol riot went viral, as well as a West Virginia state legislator who allegedly livestreamed his illegal entry into the building.
The FBI said it identified Jacob Anthony Chansley, also known as Jake Angeli, of Arizona, as the man “seen in media coverage who entered the Capitol building dressed in horns, a bearskin headdress, red, white and blue face paint, shirtless, and tan pants”.
Chansley was charged with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority, as well as with violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, the FBI said.
Chansley is a supporter of the QAnon conspiracy theory and has been mainstay outside of the Arizona Capitol since 2019, according to the Arizona Republic newspaper.
The FBI also identified Adam Johnson, 36, as the man allegedly seen smiling while carrying the lectern of US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi through the rotunda of the Capitol complex.
The man identified as Johnson is wearing a knitted hat that says “Trump” and “45” and appears ebullient during the chaotic scene.
Johnson, a resident of Parrish, Florida, was arrested on Friday night and charged with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority, theft of government property, and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.
In its statement on Saturday, the FBI also said that Derrick Evans, a 35-year-old man recently elected to the West Virginia House of Delegates, had been arrested and charged in relation to the events.
On Friday, the FBI said 13 others are facing federal charges. About 40 people have been charged so far in Washington, DC Superior Court.
Push for investigation
The Capitol riot has reignited calls primarily from Democrats – though also from some Republicans – for Trump to be removed from office before his term ends, either through impeachment or invocation of the 25th Amendment.
“It’s important to impeach & convict this president even if he has few days left in office. It will set a precedent,” Democratic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar tweeted on Saturday afternoon. “We must make it clear that no president can lead an insurrection against the U.S. government. What we do today will matter for the rest of this nation’s history.”
The deadly violence has also prompted the resignation of the Capitol Police chief and the House Sergeant-at-Arms – and spurred demands for a thorough investigation into what occurred.
In a series of tweets on Saturday, Representative Tim Ryan, the chair of the House Appropriations subcommittee, which oversees Capitol Police, decried the “epic failure” of intelligence and preparation.
At least five people lost their lives because of what happened last week, and our national security was put at severe risk. Not only must we get to the bottom of how and why this was allowed to happen, we have a duty to ensure it never EVER can happen again.
— Congressman Tim Ryan (@RepTimRyan) January 9, 2021
He said the committee is working with federal authorities to identify the rioters, who he said committed an act of “domestic terrorism”.
Ryan also promised to thoroughly investigate videos that showed some Capitol police officers taking selfies with rioters and allowing them to pass barricades.
“Not only must we get to the bottom of how and why this was allowed to happen, we have a duty to ensure it never ever can happen again,” he said.