(WSYR) — In a statement on Tuesday, Rep. John Katko with New York’s 24th District announced that he will vote to impeach President Donald Trump. He’s the first Republican to join 218 house Democrats on their resolution for impeachment.
“To impeach a sitting president is a decision I do not take lightly,” Katko said in his statement. He said that, as a former federal prosecutor, he approached this question by looking at the facts.
“The facts are this: last week, the U.S. Capitol was attacked by a mob intent on disrupting a Joint Session of Congress and preventing certification of the Electoral College results. Consequently, the U.S. Capitol Police were overrun,” Katko said in his statement. “For the staff and police officers who were in the Capitol that day, this event will forever haunt them.”
Katko said that he would vote to impeach Trump for inciting the attack on the Capitol. He also said that Vice President Mike Pence “has made clear” that he will not invoke the 25th Amendment.
Read the full statement below:
To impeach a sitting president is a decision I do not take lightly. The U.S. Constitution outlines its use only when a high crime or misdemeanor has occurred.
As a former federal prosecutor, I approach the question of impeachment by reviewing the facts at hand. The facts are this: last week, the U.S. Capitol was attacked by a mob intent on disrupting a Joint Session of Congress and preventing certification of the Electoral College results.
Consequently, the U.S Capitol Police were overrun. Insurrectionists stormed and vandalized the U.S. Capitol, assaulting those who stood in their way and leaving five Americans dead. One law enforcement officer was killed and approximately 50 others were injured. Many of those officers were severely beaten by the mob. For the staff and police officers who were in the Capitol that day, this event will forever haunt them.
It cannot be ignored that President Trump encouraged this insurrection – both on social media ahead of January 6th, and in his speech that day. By deliberately promoting baseless theories suggesting the election was somehow stolen, the president created a combustible environment of misinformation, disenfranchisement, and division. When this manifested in violent acts on January 6th, he refused to promptly and forcefully call it off, putting countless lives in danger.
We take oaths to defend the Constitution because at times, it needs to be defended. Without the peaceful transfer of power and the acknowledgment of election results, we can’t sustain our political system. Congress is tasked with holding the Executive accountable. As the Ranking Member of House Homeland Security Committee, country always comes first.
To allow the President of the United States to incite this attack without consequence is a direct threat to the future of our democracy. For that reason, I cannot sit by without taking action. I will vote to impeach this President.
The divide in our country is more clear than ever before. I hear my Republican colleagues in their argument that impeachment only further divides our country at a time when we must move forward. I agree. There must be a continuance of government and a peaceful transition of power. But I also believe firmly that I must follow the law and the facts and hold this President accountable for his actions.
Finally, ahead of tomorrow’s vote on impeachment, the House will this evening consider a non-binding resolution requesting that the Vice President invoke the 25th amendment to remove this President. Vice President Pence has made clear he will not do this, and believes elected representatives should be tasked with this effort, not acting and remaining cabinet members. Accordingly, I will not support this effort.