A growing number of Republicans are turning on Donald Trump as the US House is poised to impeach the President who has been called a “danger” to America.
The Democrats have charged Mr Trump with “incitement of insurrection” for urging his supporters to march on the Capitol which sparked riots and the breach of the capitol building.
As of 7am Australian time, at least seven Republicans had said they would vote in favour of impeachment in the House of Representatives where formal debate is under way, but there could be as many as 20.
The seven include Dan Newhouse of Washington, John Katko of New York, Jamie Herrera Beutler of Washington, Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, Fred Upton of Michigan, Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Peter Meijer.
“I wholeheartedly believe our nation – and the system of government it was founded upon – may well be in jeopardy if we do not rise to this occasion,” said Republican Dan Newhouse as he said he would support impeachment.
“This is not a decision I take lightly.”
The charges of incitement are expected to be passed in the House, making Mr Trump the first president in US history to be impeached twice.
The Senate would then have to hold a trial that would require a two-thirds majority to convict.
The Senate’s top Republican has reportedly rejected Democratic calls to reconvene the chamber for an immediate trial. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told the chamber’s top Democrat Chuck Schumer he was unwilling to call an emergency session, a McConnell spokesperson said.
However, US media report Mr McConnell has told colleagues he has not yet made up his mind about which way he will vote.
Trump ‘a danger’ to America
Mr Trump has been described as a danger to the country as House representatives stand to debate the charge against the president who has only days left in office.
“We know that the president of the US incited this insurrection, this armed rebellion against our common country,” said House speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat.
“He must go. He is a clear and present danger to the nation that we all love.”
Democrat Jerry Nadler echoed Ms Pelosi’s words when he called for Mr Trump to be impeached.
“He must not remain in power a moment longer – not one moment longer; he remains a danger – he must go,” Mr Nadler said.
Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney, the third-highest ranked Republican in the chamber and the eldest daughter of former vice president Dick Cheney, indicated a day earlier she would vote to impeach Trump.
She said “there has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.”
As lawmakers debated the matter, about 15,000 National Guard troops and police were stationed around the Capitol to provide security.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, the No.2 Democrat, said Democrats intended to send the impeachment charge, once approved, to the Senate “as soon as possible”. Ms Pelosi named nine impeachment managers who would present the House’s case at a Senate trial.