Washington: Even as Democrats in the US House of Representatives prepared to move forward with impeachment proceedings, a Republican US senator, Senator Pat Toomey, has called for President Donald Trump to resign on Sunday. The Republican senator said President Trump could face criminal liability after the deadly storming of the US Capitol by his supporters, said a Reuters report.
Senator Pat Toomey has been a conservative supporter of Trump until recently. His remarks hold significance amid developments of federal investigations of Wednesday`s assault on the seat of government.
Trump, who has contested the validity of Democrat Joe Biden`s November 3 presidential victory, praised and egged on his supporters before they laid siege to the Capitol, where lawmakers were certifying the Electoral College vote for Biden.
“I think the best way for our country is for the president to resign and go away as soon as possible,” Toomey said on NBC`s “Meet the Press,” calling Trump`s behavior since the election “outrageous.” The Senator, who appeared on several Sunday television news shows, said he did not think there was time for impeachment with only 10 days left in Trump`s term, and noted there did not appear to be consensus to use the Constitution`s 25th Amendment to strip Trump of his powers.
Toomey`s call followed that of fellow Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski, who said on Friday that Trump should resign immediately. Republican Senator Ben Sasse, a frequent Trump critic, told CBS he would “definitely consider” impeachment.
US Representative Adam Kinzinger, another Republican, also called on Trump to step down on Sunday, and for Vice President Mike Pence to exercise the 25th Amendment if he refused.
It was, however, unclear whether a significant number of other Republicans would follow suit. Republican leaders have urged the Democratic-led House not to initiate impeachment proceedings for a historic second time against Trump. Pence has opposed the idea of invoking the 25th Amendment, an adviser said.
Meanwhile, the outgoing President Trump on Sunday ordered the flag of the United States be flown half-mast at the White House and all federal buildings, grounds, and embassies to honour Capitol Police officers Brian Sicknick and Howard Liebengood, who were both on duty when a mob of Trump`s supporters stormed the US Capitol on Wednesday.
Trump said, “As a sign of respect for the service and sacrifice of United States Capitol Police Officers Brian D. Sicknick and Howard Liebengood, and all Capitol Police Officers and law enforcement across this great Nation, by the authority vested in me as President of the United States by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby order that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset, January 13, 2021.”
“I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same length of time at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations,” Trump added.
Irked over Wednesday’s development, former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger compared the mob that stormed the US Capitol to the Nazis. He called President Donald Trump a failed leader who “will go down in history as the worst president ever”.
The Republican said in a video he released on social media on Sunday that “Wednesday was the Night of Broken Glass right here in the United States.”
He said, “The broken glass was in the windows of the United States Capitol. But the mob did not just shatter the windows of the Capitol, they shattered the ideas we took for granted,” adding “They trampled the very principles on which our country was founded.”
Schwarzenegger, who was born in Austria, compared the Proud Boys — a far-right American extremist group — to the Nazis. Some Proud Boys leaders were arrested in the nation’s capital, before and after Wednesday’s riots.
Meanwhile, Democratic members of the House of Representatives planned to introduce articles of impeachment on Monday, a step House Speaker Nancy Pelosi promised if Trump was not removed by other means. The House will take up the articles as early as Tuesday or Wednesday, House Majority Whip James Clyburn told CNN`s “State of the Union.”
Democrats will take control of the Senate following victories in two Georgia runoff elections last week that will leave incoming Vice President Kamala Harris in place to make tie-breaking votes.
Biden has not taken a position on Trump`s impeachment, saying he will leave it to Congress to decide. He did say Congress needs to be able to hit the ground running once he is sworn into office on Jan. 20, when he will focus on dealing with the raging coronavirus pandemic and economic recovery.
(With Agency Inputs)