Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the Third House Republican, announced on Tuesday that she would vote to impeach President Trump, saying there has “never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States. United States ”as Mr. Trump’s incitement to the crowd. who attacked the Capitol last week.
In a scathing statement that created a rift in her party, Ms. Cheney fired her fellow Republicans on the grounds that the impeachment was hasty, premature or unwarranted. His words were unequivocal and likely to cover as many as 20 other House Republicans seeking to break ranks and join an effort that would also have the tacit support of Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader.
“Much more will become clear in the days and weeks to come, but what we now know is enough,” said Ms. Cheney, the offspring of a longtime Republican political family. “The President of the United States called this crowd together, gathered the crowd and lit the flame of this attack. All that followed was his work. None of this would have happened without the president.
She added: “The president could have intervened immediately and forcefully to stop the violence. He does not have.”
Rep. Adam Kinzinger, Republican from Illinois and frequently critical of Mr. Trump, quickly followed.
If Mr. Trump’s actions “do not deserve to be charged, what is an uneasy offense?” Mr Kinzinger said in a declaration.
Ms Cheney’s announcement came shortly after Rep. John Katko from New York became the first House Republican to pledge to vote for impeachment.
“Allowing the President of the United States to incite this harmless attack is a direct threat to the future of our democracy,” Katko said in a statement to Syracuse.com. “For this reason, I cannot stand idly by. I will vote to remove this president.
Republican House leaders have decided not to formally pressure party members against the vote to impeach Mr. Trump, making an implicit break with him as they scramble to gauge support within their ranks for a vote Wednesday to charge him with inciting violence against the country. .
Not a single Republican voted in favor of impeachment in the 2019 proceedings.
This time, Mr. Trump’s encouragement of the insurgency “cannot be ignored,” said Mr. Katko, a moderate who represents a district in upstate New York who voted for President-elect Joseph. R. Biden Jr.
“By deliberately promoting baseless theories suggesting that the election was somehow stolen, the president has created a fuel environment of disinformation, disenfranchisement and division,” Mr. Katko. “When it manifested itself in acts of violence on January 6, he refused to quickly and forcefully cancel it, putting countless lives at risk.
Mr McConnell, of Kentucky, told associates he believed Mr Trump had committed uneasy offenses and that he approved of the House’s decision to go ahead with the most severe sanction in the Constitution.
If the impeachment charge were to result in a Senate conviction, the Senate could vote to bar the president from holding public office again. Two Senate Republicans had previously called on Mr. Trump to resign, and advisers have privately speculated that a dozen more could ultimately help his conviction at trial.
If all senators voted, 17 Republicans would join Democrats in convicting Mr. Trump of serious crimes and misdemeanors; if they did, only a majority would be required to disqualify him again.
Mr. Katko was not expected to be the only member of his party to cut ranks.
Other House Republicans who considered voting for impeachment included moderates loyal to swing districts, such as Reps Fred Upton of Michigan and Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington, as well as newly seated freshmen, such as Peter Meijer from Michigan.