Now that Vice President Mike Pence has said he will not invoke the 25th Amendment and declare President Donald Trump unable to fulfill the role, U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood, D-Naperville, said the time has come for her and her colleagues to act instead.
Underwood is among northern Illinois legislators who have said they will vote to impeach.
Also on the list is U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Channahon, who said Tuesday he will vote to impeach Trump on the grounds that the president “broke his oath of office” and “incited this insurrection” when a mob of pro-Trump rioters sieged the Capitol building Jan. 6.
The U.S. House of Representatives is set to carry out the impeachment vote sometime Wednesday afternoon. Watch the vote live here.
The Senate will be out until next week, but Underwood said she expects that they will move quickly to begin an impeachment trial after the House vote on Wednesday.
In a press conference Wednesday morning, Underwood said she has held strong on her decision to vote to pass the article of impeachment against Trump, which was born of words scrawled across the notepads of Congressional members as they sheltered in place during the attack on the Capitol last Wednesday and was formally introduced Monday morning.
“We have been reminded that our democracy is fragile, perhaps more fragile than we realized, but we must stand up for our values as a country and be willing to fight for its preservation and today I will do that because the people of the 14th [District] deserve it and our democracy demands it,” Underwood said.
“Today, I will vote to impeach the president,” she said. “This is not something that I take lightly.”
Both Underwood and U.S. Representative Sean Casten, D-Downers Grove, have been vocal about their support to impeach the president for a second time.
“Yesterday’s attempted coup incited by our 45th president, Donald J. Trump, will go down as one of the darkest moments in our nation’s history,” Casten said in a news release Jan. 7, one day after the attack.
When asked about the political implications of voting for impeachment as a representative in a swing district that contains many Trump voters, Underwood said this is not a time for political thinking.
“This is not a political calculation. This is not a campaign action,” Underwood said in response. “This is about the oath of office that I took … and doing my work as a representative of the people of the 14th Congressional District to defend this Constitution and our nation, and I’m committed to doing that work whatever the political implications might be.”
The 14th District stretches from Harvard to Wadsworth in the north and covers the majority of McHenry County before narrowing at Hampshire and running south to cover Sycamore, Batavia, Oswego and Plattville.
Casten serves the 6th Congressional District, which spans from Crystal Lake to Hawthorn Woods in the north down to St. Charles and Naperville.
Congressional members were briefed by the new U.S. Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman as well as the FBI on potential security threats around Wednesday’s impeachment vote and the week leading up to Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20, Underwood said Wednesday.
“The threats are significant, they are real and they’re being taken seriously,” she said. “… We know that there are several far-right, white nationalist groups who are planning militia marches … We are being cautious and careful, but will not – will not cower.”
Thousands of National Guard troops will be present at the Capitol and the secret service has designated Wednesday’s vote as a “national security event” that will extend through inauguration, she said.
That includes about 200 Illinois National Guard members, according to a news release from the Illinois National Guard Tuesday.
Source: The Daily Chronicle