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Republicans sideline call for Vice President to oust Trump

But House pushes ahead with impeachment plans as Biden prepares to take over

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On guard: Security officials survey the Capitol in Washington ahead of the scheduled presidential inauguration

On guard: Security officials survey the Capitol in Washington ahead of the scheduled presidential inauguration

AP

On guard: Security officials survey the Capitol in Washington ahead of the scheduled presidential inauguration

A call for Vice President Mike Pence to invoke constitutional authority to remove President Donald Trump from office has been blocked by Republicans.

Democrats in the House are pushing Mr Pence and the Cabinet to oust Mr Trump, saying he is unfit for office after encouraging a protest march that turned into a mob that ransacked the US Capitol in a deadly siege.

Mr Pence has given no indication he is ready to proceed on such a course, which would involve invoking the 25th Amendment to the Constitution, including a vote by a majority of the Cabinet to oust Mr Trump before he leaves office on January 20.

Democratic President-elect Joe Biden will be sworn in on that date.

With just days left in Mr Trump's presidency, the House also is preparing to impeach Mr Trump this week.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is trying first to put pressure on Republicans to tell Mr Trump it is time to go.

Mr Trump would face a single charge - "incitement of insurrection" - over the riot at the US Capitol, according to a draft of the articles.

The four-page impeachment bill draws from Mr Trump's own false statements about his election defeat to Biden; his pressure on state officials in Georgia to "find" him more votes; and his White House rally ahead of the Capitol siege, in which he encouraged thousands of supporters to "fight like hell" before they stormed the building on Wednesday.

A violent mob of Mr Trump supporters overpowered police, broke through security lines and windows and rampaged through the Capitol, forcing politicians to scatter as they were finalising Mr Biden's victory over Mr Trump in the Electoral College.

"President Trump gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of Government," the legislation said.

Meanwhile, the theme for Mr Biden's inauguration will be America United.

The Presidential Inaugural Committee said that the theme "reflects the beginning of a new national journey that restores the soul of America, brings the country together, and creates a path to a brighter future".

In keeping with the theme of unity, the committee also announced that after he is officially inaugurated, Mr Biden, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and their spouses will lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery.

They will be joined there by former Presidents Barack Obama, George W Bush, Bill Clinton and their wives.

It will be one of Mr Biden's first acts as president, and a show of bipartisanship at a time when the national divide is on stark display.

The National Park Service announced on Monday it would shut down public access to Washington monument until January 24, citing threats surrounding the inauguration.

Mr Trump himself is skipping Mr Biden's inauguration, a decision Mr Biden said was a "good thing", though Vice President Mike Pence and his wife plan to attend.

Americans have been asked to stay home for the inauguration because of the pandemic.

Belfast Telegraph


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