U.S. Rep. Jared Golden of Maine’s 2nd District announced Monday that he will favor impeaching President Donald Trump as Democrats look to begin the process for the second time in his presidency for inciting last week’s riot at the Capitol.
The announcement from Golden, whose district twice backed the Republican president, comes as House Democrats have indicated they will move forward on impeaching Trump after the insurrection at the Capitol last Wednesday interrupted the certification of the Electoral College results and ended in the deaths of five people, including a police officer.
In a statement Monday, Golden said Trump’s conduct “clearly meets the threshold of a ‘high crime or misdemeanor’” necessary for impeachment. He accused Trump of misleading his supporters into believing that the election was stolen and encouraging their Wednesday actions, saying he used his office to incite an insurrection against another branch of government.
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Trump, who had refused to accept the results of the election, had spoken to the protesters earlier in the day and encouraged them to march on the Capitol. He praised them on social media while the riots were unfolding.
A single article of impeachment drafted by several Democratic lawmakers charges Trump with inciting an insurrection, singling out a line in his speech to protesters where he encouraged them to “fight like hell” and arguing his statements resulted in the Capitol riot hours later. Golden was one of only a few House Democrats who was not originally cosponsoring the article.
“I do not believe there has ever been a clearer case for the immediate impeachment of a president, as well as for his removal from office and disqualification from holding future public office,” Golden said in a lengthy statement.
Most Democrats and a handful of Republicans have come out in favor of removing the president from office, including Rep. Chellie Pingree of the 1st District, though some have questioned the timing as Trump is already set to leave office on Jan. 20, when President-elect Joe Biden will be sworn in. The Democratic-controlled House is scheduled to vote on the article on Wednesday, but it is not clear when the Senate might take it up.
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Maine’s two senators, Republican Susan Collins and Angus King, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, have both been mum on impeachment so far, with Collins citing her role as a juror in the potential trial. Both have been critical of Trump, with King saying the president’s Cabinet should consider removing him under the 25th Amendment.
Golden, a Democrat, won reelection by six points last November in a district Trump also won by a similar margin. The sophomore congressman was the only member of his party to split his votes on two Democratic impeachment articles in 2019, favoring one article alleging Trump of abuse of power but rejecting a second on obstructing a congressional investigation.