Pence shirks duty, declines to defend US Constitution

Vice President Mike Pence is not willing to remove President Donald Trump form power, even after the chief executive incited a riot that put his life in danger when an angry mob stormed the US Capitol building.

Reuters’ photographer Jim Bourg claimed Trump supporters speaking about executing Pence during Wednesday’s Capitol riot.

Democrats embark on the fourth presidential impeachment in history, half of which aimed at removing Trump from office, in response to a relentless misinformation campaign that started before Nov. 3, to sow doubt about the integrity of the election.

Trump’s unfounded claims grew more ridiculous as courts, election officials and recounts proved them false, culminating with his comments that incited a mob to storm the Capitol in an attempted coup d’état, intending on keeping the president in power despite having lost the November election.

A growing number of Republican lawmakers publicly endorsed impeaching Trump when the House votes Wednesday, Pence said he would not perform his duty to protect the nation from Trump even though Congress passed a measure on Tuesday calling on the Vice President to invoke the 25th Amendment to the Constitution.

The resolution, passed 223-205 almost entirely along party lines, urged him to “declare what is obvious to a horrified Nation: That the President is unable to successfully discharge the duties and powers of his office.”

Republican Rep. Chris Smith is trying to disassociate himself from the insurrection in our nation’s Capitol but Rep. Jeff Van Drew went so far as to call on President-elect Joe Biden to oppose the impeachment. Van Drew was the only New Jersey congressman to vote against certifying that Biden won.

Citing Trump’s role in inciting “a massive violent invasion of the United States Capitol” on Jan. 6, the day the president had summoned his supporters to Washington to protest the certification of the Electoral College vote formalizing President-elect Joe Biden’s victory, the resolution, introduced by Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., passed by a largely party line vote of 223-205.

Invoking the 25th Amendment would only require Pence and a majority of the Cabinet to vote to remove Trump from office due to his inability to “discharge the powers and duties of his office” — an unprecedented step.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, was the only Republican calling on the Vice President to invoke the 25th Amendment to the Constitution but five Republican lawmakers, including third-ranking House GOP leader Liz Cheney of Wyoming, announced they would vote to impeach Trump.

Two other Republicans, Fred Upton of Michigan and John Katko of New York, have also thrown their weight behind impeachment so far.

“There is no doubt in my mind that the President of the United states broke his oath of office and incited this insurrection,” said Kinzinger. “If these actions–the Article II branch inciting a deadly insurrection against the Article I branch–are not worthy of impeachment, then what is an impeachable offense?”

Kinzinger said he will also vote in favor of impeachment.

“The President of the United States summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack,” said Cheney. “Everything that followed was his doing. None of this would have happened without the President. The President could have immediately and forcefully intervened to stop the violence. He did not. There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.”

“I will vote to impeach the President,” said Cheney.

A growing number of Republican leaders and Cabinet officials say Trump should be removed from office before January 20.

“To allow the president of the United States to incite this attack without consequence is a direct threat to the future of our democracy,” said New York Congressman Rep. John Katko. “For that reason, I cannot sit by without taking action. I will vote to impeach this president.”

Making the president’s removal from office all but certain, four Republican senators have said Trump should be impeached for the second time: Lisa Murkowski, Ben Sasse, Pat Toomey and GOP Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

The resolution asked Pence “to immediately use his powers under Section 4 of the 25th Amendment to convene and mobilize the principal officers of the executive departments in the Cabinet to declare what is obvious to a horrified Nation: That the President is unable to successfully discharge the duties and powers of his office.”

Yet even as the House was in the process of voting on whether to proceed with the resolution, Pence released a letter that he had sent to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stating that he would not invoke the 25th Amendment to seek to remove Trump from office.

“I do not believe that such a course of action is in the best interest of our Nation or consistent with our Constitution,” Pence said in the letter, adding that invoking the amendment “would set a terrible precedent.”

Bourg tweeted that he heard at least three people speak about hanging Pence from a tree as a ‘traitor’ and a noose was erected on a wooden frame on the West Front of the Capitol by the president’s mob.

“I do not doubt that that mob would have strung up Pence had they encountered the Vice President,” said Bourg.

Trump and top White House officials exhibited no concern for Pence while he and members of his family were inside the US Capitol and Trump-incited rioters stormed the halls of Congress.

Pence was joined by his wife Karen Pence, daughter Charlotte and brother, Rep. Greg Pence, R-Indiana, for the ceremonial counting of the electoral votes in Congress Wednesday.

Several of the violent Trump supporters who were rampaging the US Capitol were heard screaming “where’s Mike Pence,” said a source who added that the remarks were heard by the frightened vice president and his family.

After Trump called on his loyalists to descend on the Capitol and ‘fight’ to stop the election result, fanatics burst into the building, forcing Pence and members of Congress to be evacuated.

While Congress debated his removal from power, a journalist the Trump campaign has accepted thousands of dollars from racist extremists, including a neo-Nazi leader who runs an outpost of the Aryan Nations in Louisiana.

According to data collected by Popular Information, a politics newsletter written by the journalist Judd Legum, Morris Gulett, the leader of the Louisiana chapter of Aryan Nations, has donated at least $2,000 to the Trump campaign since December 2017.

 Gulett’s contributions were brought to the attention of the Trump campaign in July 2018 by The Forward. 

“Clearly neo-Nazis and white supremacists are marching in the president’s name and are emboldened by rhetoric they’ve seen out of the administration,” said Stephen Spaulding, an attorney with the good government, nonpartisan group Common Cause.

The Pentagon has approved National Guardsmen protecting the U.S. Capitol to carry lethal weapons in the days leading up to the inauguration, as law enforcement continues to receive information about credible threats of violence from armed militia groups.

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