VICE PRESIDENT Mike Pence signaled he’ll spurn demands to immediately oust Donald Trump over a deadly riot by the president’s supporters as the two met and agreed to work together for the remainder of the term, according to a senior administration official.
The discussion adds to indications that Mr. Trump has no plans to resign before Joe Biden’s Jan. 20 inauguration.
It was the first time Mr. Trump and Mr. Pence have spoken since the president’s supporters stormed the Capitol while Mr. Pence was presiding over formal affirmation of his re-election defeat, according to two people familiar with the matter.
The two men, meeting in the Oval Office, agreed that people who broke into the Capitol don’t represent Mr. Trump’s “America First” movement and pledged to continue their work on behalf of the country for the remainder of their term, the official said. It was a good conversation in which Mr. Trump and Mr. Pence discussed the week ahead and reflected on the last four years of the administration’s work, the official added.
House Democrats are seeking to hold Mr. Trump accountable for the riot if Mr. Pence fails to act against the president. Lawmakers pushed forward on Monday with their plans to impeach Mr. Trump for a second time, introducing a resolution accusing Trump of “incitement of an insurrection.”
Mr. Pence was initially furious at Mr. Trump after hundreds of the president’s supporters breached the Capitol last Wednesday, disrupting the count of Electoral College votes and causing the vice president and lawmakers to flee the House and Senate chambers.
The episode raised the prospect that Pence might act to invoke the 25th Amendment to the Constitution, which allows the vice president and a majority of the cabinet to remove the president from office — a move encouraged by Democratic members of Congress. But Mr. Pence has privately dismissed the idea as not feasible, according to one person familiar with the matter.
The senior administration official’s account of their meeting appeared to put the matter to rest, and also rule out a presidential resignation.
The vice president’s office and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows’s team coordinated on the official’s account, according to people familiar with the matter.
The official and the people familiar with the matter asked not to be identified because the meeting between Mr. Trump and Mr. Pence wasn’t announced.
House Democrats have introduced a resolution that sets up a vote over impeachment later this week — unless Mr. Pence changes his position and ousts Mr. Trump.
The chamber will consider the measure Wednesday, according to a schedule released from House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, a Democrat.
A majority of House lawmakers have signed onto the resolution, led by Democratic Representatives David Cicilline of Rhode Island, Jamie Raskin of Maryland, and Ted Lieu of California, charging Mr. Trump with inciting the insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6.
It seeks to both remove Mr. Trump from the presidency and prevent him from ever holding office again. Mr. Cicilline said the resolution has enough support for passage, including some Republicans.
The four-page measure includes an article accusing Mr. Trump of high crimes and misdemeanors for “Incitement of Insurrection,” and says that he “willfully made statements that, in context, encouraged — and foreseeably resulted in — lawless action at the Capitol” as lawmakers were certifying the Electoral College.
The measure also cites Trump’s phone call to Georgia’s secretary of state, urging him to “find” enough votes to overturn Mr. Biden’s win there.
House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy on Monday told colleagues that he opposes Mr. Trump’s impeachment.
“Personally, I continue to believe that an impeachment at this time would have the opposite effect of bringing our country together when we need to get America back on a path towards unity and civility,” McCarthy wrote in a letter to rank and file House Republicans. — Reuters