U.S. House proceeds with impeachment with few GOP members defending Trump outright

2021-01-13 18:35:45 GMT2021-01-14 02:35:45(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

WASHINGTON, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- As the U.S. House convened Wednesday to proceed with the Democratic-led effort to impeach President Donald Trump for a second time during his presidency, few Republican representatives were defending the president.

In the face of a growing number of GOP members in the Democrats-controlled House declaring support to impeach Trump, those resisting the move cited a rushed process - merely one week after the Capitol riot by Trump loyalists that triggered the Democrats' decision to oust the president - which denied the president of his right to defend himself, as one of the reasons for their opposition.

The Republican representatives also urged their Democratic counterparts to unite rather than further divide the country that already has been torn apart by partisanship. Tom Cole, Republican of Oklahoma, accused the Democrats of "only dividing us further."

"They're rushing to judgment in my opinion and bringing up impeachment after failing to follow any meaningful process whatsoever," said Cole, ranking member of the House Rules Committee, as lawmakers debated the rule governing the impeachment article, which charged Trump with inciting an insurrection.

"No hearings have been held. No witnesses heard, no process or opportunity to respond was provided to the president," he added.

House Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern, a Democrat representing Massachusetts, chided the Republicans for their calls for unity at a time when the president fomented armed attacks on the seat of U.S. democracy to overturn the results of the presidential election.

"Some of my Republican friends have been trying to lecture us about unity here today - unity after they voted to overturn a free and fair election in the United States of America, but also preaching unity and not acknowledging that for four years many of them gave oxygen to Donald Trump's conspiracy theories," McGovern said.

McGovern said he was "proud of" those Republicans who courageously supported impeaching the president of their own party, while rallying the whole Congress to vote for impeachment. "We will never have unity without truth and also without accountability," he said in closing remarks of his statement.

The House voted along party lines to pass the rule shortly before noon. Lawmakers will debate the article of impeachment in the afternoon, followed by a vote that appeared highly likely to hand Trump the second impeachment during his presidency. Enditem