House Republican leaders will not formally lobby their caucus against voting to impeach President Trump, the New York Times reported on Tuesday.
The decision comes after Trump incited a mob of his supporters to demonstrate outside the U.S. Capitol on January 6. The mob overwhelmed Capitol police and breached the building, forcing lawmakers to evacuate, killing one police officer and injuring dozens of others. One rioter was shot and killed by police.
During the president’s impeachment over his dealings in Ukraine, Republicans lined up to oppose the effort to expel him from office, with Senator Mitt Romney of Utah the only Republican in Congress to vote to convict Trump. However, House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy of California has decided not to push colleagues to vote against impeachment, although he has said he “personally” opposes the step.
Great reporting here — for what it’s worth, a GOP aide confirms this was discussed. He says McCarthy cautioned members “to be careful with their rhetoric and not attack other members by name for safety reasons.” https://t.co/dYa6DlbJIw
— Haley Byrd Wilt (@byrdinator) January 12, 2021
McCarthy told caucus members on a conference call on Monday not to attack colleagues who vote for impeachment, because it could put their lives in danger, sources told National Review and The Dispatch.
Meanwhile, Representative Liz Cheney (R., Wyo.) told colleagues that their actions would be a “vote of conscience.” It is unclear how many House Republicans will vote to impeach, but possible supporters include John Katko of New York and Fred Upton of Michigan, as well as several freshman representatives including Peter Meijer of Michigan, the Times reported.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) has also not condemned the impeachment push, although it is not clear if McConnell himself would vote to convict. Moderate GOP senators Romney, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, have condemned the president’s conduct and called for his resignation.
If, as is likely, the House votes to impeach Trump, the Senate will not be able to conduct a trial until Joe Biden assumes office. Senate Democrats need two-thirds of the chamber, including 17 Republican senators, to vote to convict Trump.