Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming announced Tuesday that she will vote to impeach President Donald Trump for his role in inciting the deadly Capitol riot on Jan. 6. Cheney is the highest-ranking Republican to call for the president's impeachment following the violence, which Cheney, in her statement, said Trump was responsible for.
Announcing her decision, Cheney, who is the party's third-ranking House leader, reflected on the Jan. 6 attack, which occurred as members of Congress met of a special joint session to certify Electoral College votes and President-elect Joe Biden's win in the 2020 election. Cheney called the rioters "a violent mob" who "attacked the United States Capitol to obstruct the process of our democracy and stop the counting of presidential electoral votes." She noted, "this insurrection caused injury, death and destruction in the most sacred space in our Republic." Cheney said Trump "summoned this mob, assembled the mob and lit the flame of this attack" and that "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," Cheney said. "I will vote to impeach the president."
Backlash to Cheney's statement was immediate, with the head of the House Freedom Caucus has since called for Cheney to resign her leadership role in the Republican party. Speaking with Fox News, Rep. Andy Biggs said, "the reality is she's not representing the conference; she's not representing the Republican ideals." He added that Cheney is "out there advocating for others to join her in impeachment — that is wrong, and I think she should resign," adding that he was "not alone in that sentiment."
With a House vote expected Wednesday afternoon on impeaching Trump for a second time, a growing number of GOP lawmakers are expected to break ranks to vote in favor of the motion. Along with Cheney, several other Republicans are backing impeachment, including John Katko of New York, Fred Upton of Michigan, Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington, and Rep. Adam Kinzinger, who said he is expecting more Republicans will join him in voting for impeachment. The Associated Press reported that while Kinzinger wouldn't say how many more GOP lawmakers might vote to impeach, he said "there'll be more than the five you’ve seen so far." If the House votes to impeach the president, he will be the first president in United States history to be impeached twice.