WASHINGTON, D.C. — Moments before voting to impeach President Donald Trump for the second time, Rep. Zoe Lofgren explained there was no need for a long investigation into whether the president had incited an insurrection.
The San Jose Democrat, who spoke Wednesday from the House floor, said the president blatantly motivated right-wing terrorists to attack the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 while Congress was tallying votes from the Electoral College.
“The actions were in public, plain as day,” Lofgren said. “…If we don’t impeach to protect our country, we will fail our own oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and, yes, domestic.”
House lawmakers voted 232-197 in favor of impeachment, making Trump the first president in the nation’s history to be impeached twice. Like Lofgren, Reps. Ro Khanna (D-Fremont) and Anna Eshoo (D-Palo Alto) voted to impeach.
“He is incapable of honoring his oath and our Constitution, and he has proven to be unfit and dangerous,” Eshoo said. “I will vote to impeach this traitor to our country.”
Ten Republicans broke with their party and voted in favor of impeachment, including third-ranking GOP Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming. Others, like House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California, argued voting to impeach the president would only further divide the nation and prevent efforts to heal.
Shortly after the vote, Lofgren told San José Spotlight she believes some legislators who backed the president’s baseless claims of election fraud are culpable for last week’s riot.
“We had members who went to the rally and incited the same violence the president did and I think we need to take a look at that and see what is the appropriate response,” she said.
She added members of Congress are not immune from criminal liability.
“I have no doubt that the FBI is looking at the behavior of some of our members,” she said.
As Congress cast their votes on impeachment, a mixture of police, Secret Service agents and National Guard soldiers patrolled the Capitol grounds. Steel fences and cement barriers were installed around the Capitol and the National Mall.
— Katie King (@KatieKingCST) January 13, 2021
Lofgren, who was shocked by the lack of security during the attack, credited House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for the increased protection.
“The acting Capitol police had asked for various assistance and had been turned down, just stonewalled, by the National Guard that needed the permission of the Defense Department,” she said, explaining Pelosi called the Secretary of the Army to push for additional resources to protect Congress.
Despite the heightened security measures, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser is still urging Americans to avoid traveling to the capital for Joe Biden’s presidential inauguration on Jan. 20.
“(We need) to protect the District of Columbia from a repeat of the violent insurrection experienced at the Capitol,” she said.
An internal FBI bulletin has warned armed extremists may gather at state capitals across the nation in the days leading up to the inauguration, according to reports from the Associated Press.
Thousands of Trump supporters descended on Washington D.C. last week in the hopes of overturning the 2020 presidential election. Trump, who addressed the crowd on the Ellipse near the White House, called Biden’s victory an “egregious assault” on democracy.
“You will never take back our country with weakness,” he said, before urging his supporters to march down to the Capitol as members of Congress began tallying Biden’s Electoral College victory.
After listening to the president’s speech, his followers stormed the Capitol and roamed throughout the halls, vandalizing the building and breaking into lawmakers’ private offices. Some groups looked for Pelosi. Others chanted “Hang Mike Pence” as they searched for the vice president, who they believe has been disloyal to Trump.
City police officers removed one pipe bomb at the Democratic National Committee and another at the Republican National Committee. Police also recovered a cooler with Molotov cocktails on Capitol grounds.
Several people, including a Capitol police officer who was beaten by the mob, died as a result of the attack.
“This has been a very challenging week for everyone, the country and for members of Congress and staff,” Lofgren said. “But we have come through it.”
Contact Katie King at [email protected] or follow @KatieKingCST on Twitter.