U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree of the 1st District is the only member of Maine’s congressional district to back a second Democratic effort to impeach President Donald Trump that may come to a first vote a few days before the president is set to leave office.
House Democratic leaders could introduce impeachment articles on Monday after a group of pro-Trump rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol as the houses of Congress convened to affirm President-elect Joe Biden’s November victory. Members of Congress were hastily evacuated in the melee, which led to the deaths of five people, including a police officer.
Trump spoke to protesters earlier in the day, vowing to “never concede” the election to Biden and repeating false claims that it was “stolen” from him and subject to widespread voter fraud. He was slow to condemn the insurrection and a day later, he conceded to Biden in a video.
Each member of Maine’s congressional delegation said Wednesday that the president was responsible for the insurrection. Pingree, a Democrat, immediately said Trump should be removed by Congress or his Cabinet.
Sen. Angus King, an independent who caucuses with Democrats, said his Cabinet should consider removing him, while Rep. Jared Golden, a Democrat from the 2nd District, called for the president to be held accountable without specifying how to do that. Spokespeople for King and Golden said their positions had not changed on Friday.
A spokesperson for Sen. Susan Collins, the only Republican in the delegation, said she and many colleagues are “outraged” by the violence and the president’s role in it, but that removal by the Cabinet looks unlikely. The senator would not comment on impeachment because of the Senate’s eventual role in voting on whether to remove Trump, her office said Friday.
Collins has taken that line in past impeachment battles, including Trump’s last trial in February during the senator’s hotly contested campaign for a fifth term. The proceedings ended when Collins and other Republicans voted to acquit the president on two articles related to his asking the Ukrainian president to investigate Biden. She also voted against removing Bill Clinton in 1999, saying removal should be reserved for when a president “injures the fabric of democracy.”
King voted to convict Trump on both articles, while Pingree backed them both in the House. Golden, who represents a swing district won twice by Trump, voted for one and not the other, saying his fellow Democrats had not exhausted their options in court to prove their allegation that Trump had obstructed a congressional probe.