WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump’s iron grip on his party showed further signs of weakening on Tuesday as at least three Republicans, including a member of the House leadership, said they would vote to impeach him after his supporters stormed the Capitol.
Liz Cheney, the No. 3 Republican in the House of Representatives, said: “There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution,” as the Democratic-led chamber moved forward on a path to remove Trump from office.
Trump “summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack” on the Capitol last Wednesday, Cheney, the daughter of former Republican Vice-President Dick Cheney, said in a statement, adding: “I will vote to impeach the president.”
Two other Republican House members, John Katko and Adam Kinzinger, said they would also vote for the historic second impeachment of the Republican president, who leaves office in just eight days.
Their announcements came as Republican leaders in the US House of Representatives on Tuesday refrained from urging their members to vote against impeaching Trump, saying it was a matter of individual conscience after his supporters ransacked the Capitol.
The House plans to vote as soon as Wednesday on an article of impeachment charging Trump with inciting insurrection unless he resigns or Vice-President Mike Pence moves to oust him under a provision in the U.S. Constitution.
The House was set to vote on Tuesday on a separate non-binding resolution that would call on Pence to utilise the 25th Amendment of the US Constitution to remove Trump, a procedure that has never been attempted in US history.
The New York Times reported that the Republican majority leader of the US Senate, Mitch McConnell, was said to be pleased about the Democratic impeachment push, suggesting Trump’s party was looking to move on from him after last week’s stunning attack on Congress.
McConnell believes the impeachment effort will make it easier to purge Trump from the party, the Times said.