US House minority leader Kevin McCarthy opposes Trump impeachment, privately floats other responses

WASHINGTON (BLOOMBERG) – House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy on Monday (Jan 11) told colleagues he remains opposed to impeaching President Donald Trump in connection with last week’s riot at the US Capitol, but is floating other responses, including censure of the president.

“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,” Mr McCarthy wrote in a letter to rank and file House Republicans.

He told fellow House Republicans on a conference call on Monday that Mr Trump had acknowledged having some responsibility for the riot, according to a person familiar with the matter.

In the letter, he listed as responses to last week’s siege of the Capitol: A censure resolution by the House; a bipartisan commission to look into the attack and what led to it; “reforming the Electoral Count Act of 1887”; and “legislation to Promote Voter Confidence in Future Federal Elections”.

The letter was circulated just before House Republicans were to talk in the private conference call. It also came just hours after House Democrats introduced an impeachment resolution accusing Mr Trump of “incitement of an insurrection” over the attack on the Capitol.

Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said the House would consider the resolution and its articles of impeachment Wednesday.

McCarthy, who rarely has criticised or clashed with Mr Trump, wrote that, “notwithstanding the speaker’s push towards impeachment, I have heard from members across our conference who have raised at least four potential avenues available to the House to ensure that the events of Jan 6 are rightfully denounced and prevented from occurring in the future”.

“This past week has been extremely difficult for our conference and for our nation. We mourn the tragic loss of life, especially the lives of Officer Brian Sicknick and Officer Howard Liebengood of the US Capitol Police,” McCarthy added in the letter.

He said that House Republicans have been taking time “to process the events of that day”.

He cited zip ties that were found “were found on staff desks in my office. Windows were smashed in. Property was stolen”.

“Those images will never leave us – and I thank our men and women in law enforcement who continue to protect us and are working to bring the sick individuals who perpetrated these attacks to justice,” writes Mr McCarthy.

At the same time, Mr McCarthy writes that while he sees an even deeper sense of service and clarity of purpose by House Republicans, “both for our shared principles and for the future of our nation”.

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