Georgia Democrats in Congress ready to move forward on 2nd Trump impeachment

WASHINGTON — Members of the U.S. House are on track to approve new articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, making him the first president in history to be impeached twice.

That resolution, which only needs a majority to pass on Wednesday, is expected to have unanimous support from Democrats, including all six from Georgia. Although no GOP members from Georgia are backing the resolution, at least two Republicans say they will — members from Wyoming, Illinois and New York.

For Trump to face consequences, such as removal from office or restrictions from running for president again, two-thirds of the Senate must convict him. Even if Georgia U.S. Sens.-elect Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock are sworn in and boost the number of Democrats in the chamber to 50, the support of 17 Republicans is needed.

That is not likely. Still, Democrats say it is important to hold the president accountable for his role in encouraging last week’s protests at the U.S. Capitol that turned violent and deadly.

U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson is a member of the House Judiciary Committee that helped build the case against Trump when he was impeached in 2019. This go-round, the process is happening much more rapidly.

Johnson, a Democrat from Lithonia who was among the members barricaded inside the House chambers while rioters attempted a breach, said swift action is needed against a president he described as a “clear and present danger.”

“He’s unhinged; he is delusional,” Johnson told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “He’s impulsive, and he is acting like a lunatic. And he’s got his hands on the nuclear codes. It doesn’t get more serious than that.”

The resolution up for a vote Wednesday brings a single impeachment charge against Trump: “incitement of insurrection.”

House Democrats are also attempting to pass a separate bill asking Vice President Mike Pence and the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment. That amendment allows for a president to be removed from office if his inner circle determines he can no longer carry out his duties.

Only two of Georgia’s eight GOP members in the House responded to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s questions about whether they are willing to support either proposal. Johnson has also introduced a censure resolution that has 104 co-sponsors, all Democrats. Censure would express disapproval or condemnation of the president but carries no consequences.

Republican U.S. Reps. Buddy Carter of Pooler and Andrew Clyde of Athens said they are not willing to support any of those options. They criticized Democrats’ efforts to tie Trump to last week’s insurrection and said the president should be allowed to finish his term that ends with Joe Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20.

“Democrats have been pushing their divisive impeachment narrative ever since President Trump was elected, and it is no surprise they will continue through the president’s last day in office,” Carter told the AJC. “If Washington Democrats were truly interested in reconciliation after the terrible events we witnessed last week, they would focus on it.”

Clyde, a freshman lawmaker, also stuck by his decision to join five other GOP members from Georgia in challenging Biden’s Electoral College victory in several states. He said those states, including Georgia, should have had their election systems investigated to ensure there was no misconduct or fraud during the general election.

“Millions of Americans believe they were cheated out of this election, and they deserve answers,” Clyde said.

Georgia’s election officials, who are Republicans, have said there is no widespread evidence that any ballots were mishandled and that multiple recounts confirmed Biden’s win. Multiple lawsuits were dismissed by judges who said they held no merit.

The other six GOP members from Georgia — U.S. Reps. Rick Allen, Drew Ferguson, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Jody HIce, Barry Loudermilk and Austin Scott — did not respond to the AJC’s requests for comment about Biden’s transition and whether Trump should be disciplined after last week’s riots.

Neither did U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler, who remains in office until the person who defeated her in the runoffs, Warnock, is sworn in later this month.

Meanwhile, the Democrats from Georgia have remained vocal about wanting to hold the president accountable in some way. U.S. Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux was the first in the delegation to broach the topic of impeaching Trump again. Since then, she has been joined by the other Democrats: U.S. Reps. Sanford Bishop, Lucy McBath, David Scott, Nikema Williams and Johnson.

“The outgoing president of the United States has incited an insurrection and attempted to overthrow the results of a free and fair election,” Bourdeaux said recently. “If these actions do not qualify as impeachable offenses in the eyes of my colleagues, then I don’t know what would.”

Staff writer Tamar Hallerman contributed to this article.