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As the outcry grew louder Saturday to remove President Trump over his role in inciting Wednesday’s Capitol invasion, the Senate made clear it would take no action on House Democrats’ effort to re-impeach Trump until he is out of office.
Under a timeline issued Friday to Senate colleagues, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said any House resolution on the matter could not be transmitted to the upper chamber until Jan. 19, based on the body’s current calendar.
House impeachment managers could present their case — which would accuse Trump of “inciting an insurrection” at the Capitol — to the assembled Senate that same day, McConnell’s memo noted.
But under existing impeachment rules, debate and votes could not begin until 1 p.m. the following day — an hour after President-elect Joe Biden is sworn into office at noon on Jan. 20.
“The Senate trial would therefore begin after President Trump’s term has expired,” McConnell wrote, the Washington Post reported, raising the question of whether the whole exercise is moot.
With the 50-50 Senate still in Republican hands until Jan. 20, when Kamala Harris becomes vice president and gives the Democrats the majority, it would take a unanimous vote of all 100 senators to override McConnell’s calendar — a remote possibility.
In other developments Saturday:
- Reports citing sources close to the President said Trump has no plans to resign or turn over power to Vice President Pence in exchange for a pardon — despite persistent rumors that he’s toyed with the idea. The president has still not ruled out the possibility of pardoning himself, a risky and untested legal gamble.
- A majority of Americans want Trump immediately removed from office, a new poll showed. The Reuters/Ipsos survey found 57% of respondents have had enough, although 80 percent of Republicans said they’d prefer he finish his term ending Jan. 20. However, even 70% of Trump voters condemned the violence, and two-thirds called the rioters “criminals” or “fools.”
- The Capitol invasion set off a social-media tsunami that is reshaping the internet. Just hours after Trump was permanently banned from Twitter Friday, his fans vowed they would move on from the platform as well. Twitter also began purging users it said had failed to provide confirmed identifying information. On Saturday, conservative Twitter pundits were reporting thousands of lost followers — while free-speech and right-wing platforms like Gab and Parler were taking in waves of refugees. Gab reported 10,000 new users an hour, and Parler crashed under the load.
- Pope Francis on Saturday denounced Wednesday’s violence as an assault on democracy. “I was astonished because they are people so disciplined in democracy,” the pontiff told an Italian news station.
- The feds announced three high-profile arrests Saturday: the man seen carrying off Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s lectern; the shirtless, horned-headdress wearing man who flexed in the Senate chamber, and the West Virginia lawmaker who recorded himself storming the US Capitol. Derrick Evans, 35, a freshman member of the West Virginia House of Delegates, resigned Saturday.
- US Attorney Michael Sherwin said his office has opened a formal, federal excessive force probe into the shooting death of rioter and Air Force vet Ashli Babbitt.
- The FBI is investigating allegations that several active or retired members of the FDNY were “present at the events” at the Capitol.
As impeachment talk gained steam Saturday, some legal scholars told The Post a post-term impeachment trial for a former president would be a historical first — and a constitutional impossibility.
“A politically motivated impeachment … will only serve to further divide our great country,” White House spokesman Judd Deere said Friday.
But in New York, seven members of the city’s congressional delegation, led by Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, joined Mayor de Blasio Saturday to insist on Trump’s impeachment.
“He is a clear and present danger to the health, safety and well-being of the American people,” Jeffries, the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus and Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s heir apparent, said.
Jeffries, along with Democratic Reps. Carolyn Maloney, Nydia Velázquez, Gregory Meeks, Adriano Espaillat, Tom Suozzi, and Jamaal Bowman stood masked on the steps of City Hall and railed against Trump and the “domestic terrorists” they said attacked Congress.
“He should be impeached, convicted … and forever banished to the dustbin of history,” Jeffries said.
He outlined a supercharged impeachment process in the House that will see a “privileged resolution” introduced on Monday, starting a 48-hour clock that could mean an impeachment vote as soon as Wednesday — completely bypassing the usual lengthy hearings in the Judiciary Committee.
Even with the impeachment measure on track to hit a brick wall in the Senate, Jeffries said the House “has a responsibility to put it on them to act.”
And, Suozzi added, the House’s vote alone could stymie Trump’s ability to pardon those who wreaked havoc on the Capitol — a controversial reading of the Constitution that several legal experts discredited.
“He’ll be the only president in the history of the United States of America to be impeached two times,” Suozzi said. “But that’s the most important thing, removing his pardon power.”
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