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Pressure grows on Trump to quit as impeachment calls intensify

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The protestors and vandals at the Capitol

The protestors and vandals at the Capitol

Getty Images

The protestors and vandals at the Capitol

Two Republican senators now say US President Donald Trump should resign as support for the drive to impeach him a second time is gaining momentum in his final days in office.

Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania yesterday joined Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski in calling for Mr Trump to "resign and go away as soon as possible."

Ms Murkowski, who has long voiced her exasperation with Mr Trump's conduct in office, said on Friday that Mr Trump simply "needs to get out."

Mr Toomey said that even though he believes Mr Trump committed impeachable offences in encouraging loyalists in the Capitol siege on Wednesday, he did not think there was enough time for the impeachment process to play out.

Mr Toomey said that resignation was the "best path forward, the best way to get this person in the rear view mirror for us."

Scattered

However he was not optimistic that Mr Trump would step down before his term ends on January 20.

The White House had no immediate comment last night.

The House appears determined to act despite the short timeline.

Late Saturday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sent a letter to her colleagues reiterating that Mr Trump must be held accountable.

She told her caucus, now scattered across the country on a two-week recess, to "be prepared to return to Washington this week."

"It is absolutely essential that those who perpetrated the assault on our democracy be held accountable," Ms Pelosi wrote.

"There must be a recognition that this desecration was instigated by the president."

Republican Jim Clyburn, the third-ranking House Democrat, said "it may be Tuesday, Wednesday before the action is taken, but I think it will be taken this week."

Mr Clyburn said he was concerned that a Senate trial could distract from the process of confirming President-elect Joe Biden's nominees.

Mr Clyburn said one option could be giving Mr Biden the "100 days he needs to get his agenda off and running and maybe we'll send the articles sometime after that" to the Senate for a trial.

He said lawmakers "will take the vote that we should take in the House" and that Ms Pelosi "will make the determination as when is the best time" to send them to the Senate.

Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, has said an impeachment trial could begin as early as Inauguration Day.

Republican David Cicilline, a leader of the House effort to draft impeachment articles - or charges - accusing Mr Trump of inciting insurrection, said that his group had grown to 185 co-sponsors.

Lawmakers planned to formally introduce the proposal today in the House, where articles of impeachment must originate.

The articles, if passed by the House, could then be transmitted to the Senate for a trial, with senators acting as jurors.

If convicted, Mr Trump would be removed from office and succeeded by the vice president.

Complicating that decision about impeachment is what it means for Mr Biden and the beginning of his presidency.

While reiterating that he has long viewed Mr Trump as unfit for office, Mr Biden on Friday sidestepped a question about impeachment, saying what Congress does "is for them to decide."

A mob of Trump supporters overpowered police, broke through security and rampaged through the Capitol on Wednesday, forcing lawmakers to scatter as they were putting the final touches on Mr Biden's victory over Mr Trump in the Electoral College.

The crowd surged to the domed symbol of American democracy following a rally near the White House, where Mr Trump repeated his bogus claims that the election was stolen from him and urged his supporters to march in force toward the Capitol.

Five people, including a Capitol police officer, died as a result of the siege.

Mr Trump has become increasingly isolated, holed up in the White House as he has been abandoned by many aides.


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