McCarthy considers slapping Trump on wrist for inciting attack on Capitol

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The House minority leader also suggested Congress pass legislation that backs up Trump's unfounded election fraud lies.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy sent a letter Monday to House Republicans that suggests "possible avenues" the House could take in response to Wednesday's violent coup.

For McCarthy, that would include a slap on the wrist for Donald Trump, who spurred on the insurrection with his lies of a stolen election.

McCarthy said he opposed the impeachment proceedings that House Democrats have brought against Trump, charging him with a single article of incitement to insurrection. Hours before the assault on the Capitol, Trump had suggested he would march on the building with his throng of angry supporters, telling them that "weakness" would not win back the country.

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"Personally, I continue to believe that an impeachment at this time would have the opposite effect of bringing our country together when we need to get America back on a path towards unity and civility," McCarthy wrote on Monday.

He added that "notwithstanding [House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's] push towards impeachment" there were "at least four ... potential avenues" that the House could take in response to Wednesday's attack on the Capitol.

The first, he said, would be a "resolution of censure under the rules of the House," presumably against Trump.

The second would be a "bipartisan commission to investigate the circumstances surrounding the attack."

Third, McCarthy said, would include "reforming the Electoral Count Act of 1887" to combat the Capitol uprising, and fourth and finally, he suggested "legislation to promote voter confidence in future federal elections," seemingly hinting at the very lies Trump has pushed that led to the Capitol insurrection.

McCarthy notably did not name Trump anywhere in the letter.

McCarthy had already criticized House Democrats earlier in the week for pursuing "divisive" impeachment proceedings.

"Our country is not just divided. We are deeply hurt," he said Friday. "The task ahead for the next Congress and incoming Biden Administration couldn’t be more momentous. But to deliver a better America for all, partisans of all stripes first must unite as Americans and show our country that a peaceful transfer of power has occurred. Impeaching the President with just 12 days left in his term will only divide our country more."

However, with his letter on Monday, McCarthy appeared to openly amplify Trump's false and divisive claims of widespread voter fraud, which themselves led to Wednesday's violent attack.

Already, several members of Congress have called for McCarthy, who voted to object to President-elect Joe Biden's Electoral College victory last week, to step down, claiming he incited Wednesday's violence by promoting Trump's lies. Those members include Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), and Don Beyer (D-VA), as well as former Rep. Justin Amash (I-MI).

Despite McCarthy's plea, House Democrats have made clear their intention to impeach Trump for inciting the attempted coup at the Capitol that left five dead, including one police officer.

"In all this, President Trump gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of Government. He threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power, and imperiled a coequal branch of Government. He thereby betrayed his trust as President, to the manifest injury of the people of the United States," the resolution to impeach Trump read.

The House intends to vote on the article Wednesday, according to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer. It will then be up to the Senate to hold an impeachment trial, though Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he will not kickstart that process until Jan. 19, one day before Trump leaves office.

Senate Democrats face an uphill challenge in that effort, as they do not appear to have the required two-thirds majority necessary to convict Trump. Doing so would remove some of the benefits Trump is set to enjoy as a former president, including health insurance, and an annual stipend of more than $200,000.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.