Central New York Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) said he will vote to impeach President Donald Trump. This comes after an attack on the U.S. Capitol by Trump supporters, following a Trump rally, left five people dead. In a statement, Katko, a Republican, said allowing the president to incite this attack without consequence is a direct threat to the future of democracy.
“It cannot be ignored that President Trump encouraged this insurrection -- both on social media ahead of January 6th and in his speech that day,” Katko said. “By deliberately promoting baseless theories suggesting the election was somehow stolen, the president created a combustible environment of misinformation, disenfranchisement and division. When this manifested in violent acts on January 6th, he refused to promptly and forcefully call it off, putting countless lives in danger.”
Katko, a former federal prosecutor, said insurrectionists stormed and vandalized the Capitol, assaulting those who stood in their way.
“One law enforcement officer was killed and approximately 50 others were injured,” Katko said. “Many of those officers were severely beaten by the mob. For the staff and police officers who were in the Capitol that day, this event will forever haunt them.”
He goes on to say he agrees with Republicans that impeachment will only further divide the country, but he must hold the president accountable for his actions. He said he will not support the effort to request the vice president to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove the president.
Katko endorsed Trump in the 2020 election. But following the attack, he said he could no longer support him. Katko previously said that impeachment or invoking the 25th Amendment, could take weeks and was a moot conversation, considering on January 20th there would be a “peaceful transition of power.” Last week, he said that he doesn’t expect the Republican Party to support Trump, moving forward.
Katko voted against Trump’s impeachment in 2019. Articles of impeachment were brought against Trump, because he asked the Ukrainian president for an investigation into his political rival, Joe Biden.
Read Katko's full statement below.