Speaker Pelosi gives Vice President Pence a deadline.
WASHINGTON — The House moved on two fronts on Sunday to try to force President Trump from office, escalating pressure on the vice president to strip him of power and committing to quickly begin impeachment proceedings against him for inciting a mob that violently attacked the seat of American government.
In a letter to colleagues, Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California said the House would move forward on Monday with a resolution calling on Vice President Mike Pence and the cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment, and wrest the powers of the presidency. She called on Mr. Pence to respond “within 24 hours” and indicated she expected a Tuesday vote on the resolution.
Next, she said, the House would bring an impeachment case to the floor. Though she did not specify how quickly it would move, leading Democrats have suggested they could press forward on a remarkably quick timetable, charging Mr. Trump by midweek with “high crimes and misdemeanors.”
“In protecting our Constitution and our democracy, we will act with urgency, because this president represents an imminent threat to both,” she wrote. “As the days go by, the horror of the ongoing assault on our democracy perpetrated by this president is intensified and so is the immediate need for action.”
Ms. Pelosi’s actions effectively gave Mr. Pence, who is said to be opposed to the idea, an ultimatum: use his power under the Constitution to force Mr. Trump out by declaring him unable to discharge his duties, or make him the first president in American history to be impeached twice.
Far from capitulating, Mr. Trump made plans to proceed as if the last five earth-shattering days had simply not happened at all. But momentum in Washington was shifting decisively against him.
More than 210 of the 222 Democrats in the House — nearly a majority — had already signed on to an impeachment resolution by Sunday afternoon, registering support for a measure that asserted that Mr. Trump would “remain a threat to national security, democracy, and the Constitution” if he was not removed in the final 10 days of his term. A second Republican senator, Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania, said he should resign immediately, joining Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. And a Republican House member hinted more clearly than before that he could vote to impeach, even as he cautioned that it could backfire and further galvanize Mr. Trump’s supporters.
With few Democrats hopeful Mr. Pence would act, Representative James E. Clyburn of South Carolina, the party’s No. 3, said the House could vote to impeach Mr. Trump by Wednesday, one week before Inauguration Day. Lawmakers were put on notice to return to Washington, and their leaders consulted with the Federal Air Marshal Service and police on how to safely move them back into a Capitol that was ransacked in a shocking security failure less than a week ago.
There is nothing in Mr. Pence’s background or past history that indicates he will act on his own to enact the 25th Amendment, so it will come down to impeachment. Even after January 20, the Senate can still put Trump on trial and convict him, which will bar him from ever seeking federal office again. And it will also make him face the consequences of egging on this mob. That’s a small price to pay, but it will serve.