With Joe Biden focusing on a smooth transition and only 12 days to go in President Trump's term, officials on both sides are trying their best for a second impeachment or for VP Mike Pence to take over as president.

People hold a US flag at Barclays Center during the
People hold a US flag at Barclays Center during the "Get him out! Defend democracy" rally, a day after supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol, in the Brooklyn borough of NYC, New York, US, January 7, 2021. (Reuters)

US House Democrats have said they are preparing to move forward with impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump following his supporters’ siege at the Capitol.

With only 12 days left of Trump's term, officials on both sides are pushing for a second impeachment or for Vice President Mike Pence to take over as president. 

President Joe Biden, through the transition spokesperson on Friday, has said his focus will remain on preparations to take office and that he will leave Trump's impeachment and 25th Amendment issues up to Congress and Pence.

Assistant House Speaker Katherine Clark told CNN that Democrats could bring articles of impeachment to the House floor as soon as "mid-next week" if Cabinet members do not invoke the 25th Amendment.

“Donald Trump needs to be removed from office and we are going to proceed with every tool that we have to make sure that that happens to protect our democracy,” Clark told CNN in an interview. 

If Vice President Mike Pence does not invoke the US Constitution’s 25th Amendment to remove Trump, “we will move forward with impeachment.”

This comes as House Democrats are set to meet at noon on Friday to discuss the possible impeachment, reported Axios quoting Capitol Hill sources.

READ MORE: How a security lapse allowed pro-Trump protesters to invade US Capitol

Impeachment time constraints

According to legal experts, chances of sending Trump out of the Oval Office ahead of January 20 seem unlikely due to time constraints, drawing further concern that the president may pardon himself. 

"Practically speaking, it's highly unlikely because the historical precedents call for a multi-week investigation into the allegations against the president," said Anthony Gaughan, a US constitutional law expert and law professor at Drake University, to DW.

"That certainly was the case with regard to Andrew Johnson, Bill Clinton, Richard Nixon — and Donald Trump himself when he was impeached."

Biden is not interested in opening an impeachment proceeding or weighing in on the 25th Amendment talks, CNN reported quoting people familiar with the matter.

"Impeachment would not help unify this country," a person close to Biden said, who added that "this is a matter to be decided by the Congress." 

25th Amendment

During his term as US president, Trump has faced numerous investigations and even an impeachment, but now calls for the incumbent to be ousted early sparked fresh debate.

Democratic leaders including House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called for immediate impeachment proceedings if Vice President Mike Pence and Trump’s Cabinet refused to take steps to remove Trump from power.

Pelosi called him “a very dangerous person who should not continue in office. This is urgent, an emergency of the highest magnitude.”

The 25th Amendment would allow Pence to become acting president if he and at least eight cabinet members declare Trump unable to continue his duties.

However, the president is given the chance to contest, leaving the decision to a vote by Congress which would require a two-thirds majority.

'Only just beginning'

Concerns of further demonstrations by Trump supporters were magnified when Trump hinted at a return to the public arena on Twitter saying, “our incredible journey is only just beginning.”

Trump led off a video from the White House on Thursday by condemning the violence carried out in his name a day earlier at the Capitol. 

Then, for the first time on camera, he admitted his presidency would soon end — though he declined to mention President-elect Joe Biden by name or explicitly state he had lost.

“A new administration will be inaugurated on January 20,” Trump said in the video. “My focus now turns to ensuring a smooth, orderly and seamless transition of power. This moment calls for healing and reconciliation.”

READ MORE: Trump promises 'orderly' transition after supporters invade Capitol

Source: TRTWorld and agencies