Sen. Bernie Sanders on Friday delivered a one-word answer to those wondering why Congress should impeach President Donald Trump even though he only has days left in office: Precedent.
"It must be made clear that no president, now or in the future, can lead an insurrection against the U.S. government," Sanders (I-Vt.) tweeted Friday amid mounting calls for federal lawmakers and Trump's Cabinet to remove him from office for inciting Wednesday's violent attack on the Capitol.
Some people ask: Why would you impeach and convict a president who has only a few days left in office? The answer: Precedent. It must be made clear that no president, now or in the future, can lead an insurrection against the U.S. government.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) January 8, 2021
Sanders, who has twice sought the Democratic nomination for president, is on the growing list of members of Congress who have expressed support for impeaching Trump—again—removing him from office, and barring him from holding an elected position in U.S. politics ever again.
The senator is also among those criticizing Cabinet members for resigning rather than invoking the 25th Amendment of the Constitution to oust Trump and replace him with Vice President Mike Pence until Biden's inauguration on January 20. Pence reportedly disagrees with that course of action.
Both the Cabinet and Congress are under pressure to stop stalling and act now, with critics such as watchdog group Public Citizen pointing out that "a president who was deemed unfit to manage a Facebook page"—his access was cut off after the insurrection—"still has access to the nuclear codes."
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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told lawmakers on Friday that Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley had assured her that "steps are in place" to prevent "an unstable president from initiating military hostilities or accessing the launch codes and ordering a nuclear strike."
As for impeachment, Pelosi wrote in her Friday letter that Republicans in Congress need to "call on Trump to depart his office—immediately." The speaker added that "if the president does not leave office imminently and willingly, the Congress will proceed with our action" to impeach him.
NEW: Pelosi says she spoke to the chairman of the joint chiefs about preventing Trump from accessing the nuclear codes.
"The situation of this unhinged President could not be more dangerous." pic.twitter.com/GItVGehUr9
— Andrew Solender (@AndrewSolender) January 8, 2021
In response to reporting that House Democrats will introduce articles of impeachment as early as Monday, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) declared Friday: "We have the articles of impeachment already drafted. Monday isn't early enough. The nation is waiting for us to respond ASAP."
Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) concurred. As he put it: "We should reconvene Congress today and vote on articles of impeachment tomorrow. There is no need for delay in fulfilling our constitutional responsibility."