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Gary Palmer: Latest effort to impeach Trump ‘only serves to intensify division and anger’

The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday is set to vote on an article of impeachment against President Donald J. Trump for allegedly “inciting violence against the Government of the United States.”

The article was introduced on Monday, and Trump is set to leave office in seven days when President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated. U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell (AL-07) is a cosponsor of the article of impeachment.

House Democrats passed a resolution on Tuesday calling for Vice President Mike Pence to convene the cabinet and invoke Section 4 of the 25th Amendment to immediately remove Trump from power in light of last week’s events at the U.S. Capitol. Pence rejected that call in a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

The article of impeachment is expected to receive a small number of votes from House Republicans on Wednesday, including House GOP Conference Chair Liz Cheney (R-WY) — the third-highest ranking Republican in the lower chamber of Congress. However, whenever the article’s ultimate fate in the Senate is still uncertain.

In a statement, another member of House leadership — Congressman Gary Palmer (AL-06) — emphasized his continued denouncement of what occurred last Wednesday at the Capitol. He also explained why he believes impeaching Trump is not a constructive recourse.

“This vote is not how we move forward as a country,” Palmer said. “The events of January 6 made for one of the darkest days I’ve experienced during my time in Congress, but a vote on an article of impeachment one week before a presidential transition only serves to intensify division and anger.”

“I am also concerned by the lack of process and precedent for this impeachment,” the Central Alabama congressman continued. “We are now in the process of impeaching a President because of a political speech and we’re doing it without basically no process. The bipartisan Congressional Research Service notes that there are generally three phases to an impeachment process: ‘(1) initiation of the impeachment process; (2) Judiciary Committee investigation, hearings, and markup of article of impeachment; and (3) full House consideration of the articles of impeachment.’ We haven’t even given lip service to the first two steps. Furthermore, it sets a dangerous precedent to impeach anyone for political rhetoric without due process or opportunity for defense, and it makes this process looks more like an inquisition than an impeachment.”

Palmer added, “It is critical to remember that the Constitution names ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’ as the standard for impeaching a President. No matter how frustrated we become, we cannot undermine the office of the President, or our government’s crucial separation of powers, by rushing to impeach without examining the context and surrounding evidence. The lack of thorough investigation to determine who actually instigated the attack on the Capitol, and whether or not the attack was pre-planned, raises grave concerns about the motives behind this rush to impeach. The entire American public, regardless of individual political allegiances or views of the President, deserves to know all the facts. To deny them that will only intensify the distrust of the government.

“I strongly condemn the attack on the Capitol last week. There is no excuse for it, and I hope everyone who took any part will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. But I do not believe an impeachment is beneficial to our country at this difficult moment. In short, this move will only encourage deeper division and bitterness on all sides at a time when we desperately need to unify,” he concluded.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn