LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Los Angeles, and two other congressional Democrats announced today they are circulating articles of impeachment in an effort to remove President Donald Trump from office, accusing him of inciting his supporters to storm the U.S. Capitol.
Meanwhile, the FBI put out a call to the public for help identifying insurgents who were caught on camera breaching Capitol security on Wednesday, forcing their way into the building and occupying the halls of Congress.
“Make no mistake: With our partners, we will hold accountable those who participated in yesterday's siege of the Capitol,'' FBI Director Christopher Wray said in a statement. “Let me assure the American people the FBI has deployed our full investigative resources and is working closely with our federal, state and local partners to aggressively pursue those involved in criminal activity during the events of January 6.
“Our agents and analysts have been hard at work through the night gathering evidence, sharing intelligence and working with federal prosecutors to bring charges. Members of the public can help by providing tips, information, and videos of illegal activity at www.fbi.gov/USCapitol. We are determined to find those responsible and ensure justice is served.''
The attack on the U.S. Capitol occurred as Congress was meeting to certify the results of the Nov. 3 election, in which Democrat Joe Biden defeated the Republican Trump, despite the incumbent's repeated unsubstantiated claims of widespread voter fraud that led to his defeat in key swing states and cost him the election.
At Trump's urging, thousands of his supporters descended on Washington, D.C., Wednesday for a morning rally. The president addressed the massive crowd, repeating his claims of the election being stolen through fraud. In part, Trump urged the crowd to march to the Capitol.
“And we're gonna cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and woman. And we're probably not going to be cheering, so much for some of them, because you'll never take back our country with weakness, you have to show strength and you have to be strong,'' he said.
Authorities said four people died in the melee, including a San Diego woman -- identified as 35-year-old Ashli Babbitt -- who was shot by a Capitol Police officer outside the House chamber.
Lieu, along with Rep. David Cicilline of Rhode Island and Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, circulated articles of impeachment Thursday saying Trump “willfully made statement that encouraged -- and foreseeably resulted in -- imminent lawless action at the Capitol.''
The articles reference Trump's “prior efforts to subvert and obstruct the certification of the results of the 2020 president election,'' including a much-publicized phone call with Georgia elections officials in which the president urged them to “find'' sufficient votes to change the election result.
“In all of this, President Trump gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of government,'' according to the document. “He threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power, and imperiled a coordinate branch of government. He therefore betrayed his trust as president, to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.''
The document labels Trump “a threat to national security.''
Lieu, Cicilline and other representatives urged Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday night to invoke the 25th Amendment, transferring presidential power to the vice president. But they moved Thursday to the articles of impeachment. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York issued a statement Thursday endorsing any effort to remove Trump from office, be in through the 25th Amendment or impeachment.
Lieu backed that effort, saying, “We cannot just act like everything is okay. It is not.''
There's been no response from Trump. With his Twitter account frozen due to incendiary posts on Wednesday, Trump issued a statement Thursday morning through his deputy chief of staff, Dan Scavino, vowing an orderly transition to a Biden administration. But he persisted in his unsubstantiated voter-fraud claims.
“Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20th. I have always said we would continue our fight to ensure that only legal votes were counted. While this represents the end of the greatest first term in presidential history, it's only the beginning of our fight to make America great again.''
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