U.S. Rep. David Cicilline, the out congressman who’s leading the new effort to impeach Donald Trump, has received threats from Trump supporters since introducing an article of impeachment Monday morning.
Voice mail messages left for the Rhode Island Democrat include “You poked the fucking bear this time, you little bitch”; “You’ve got 80 fucking million people coming after you, you commie little fucks”; and “If you impeach him, civil war is on, buddy.” CNN broadcast the messages with the profanity bleeped out. Cicilline and his staff have let law enforcement know about the voice mails.
Cicilline is lead sponsor of the article of impeachment, which “charges the outgoing President with a count of ‘Incitement of Insurrection’ for his actions on January 6, 2021, when he delivered a speech inciting his supporters to lay siege to the United States Capitol, an action that temporarily halted the counting of Electoral College votes and resulted in the deaths of five individuals, including an officer of the United States Capitol Police,” according to a press release from his office. Democratic Reps. Ted Lieu of California and Jamie Raskin of Maryland are lead cosponsors, and 211 other members of the U.S. House have signed on as cosponsors.
“Last Wednesday marked one of the darkest days in the history of our country,” Cicilline, Lieu, and Raskin, who serve together on the House Judiciary Committee, said in a joint statement. “After months of agitation and propaganda against the results of the 2020 election, the United States Capitol — the citadel of our democracy — was attacked as President Trump’s supporters attempted to stage a coup and overturn the results of our free and fair presidential election. We cannot allow this unprecedented provocation to go unanswered. Everyone involved in this assault must be held accountable, beginning with the man most responsible for it — President Donald Trump. We cannot begin to heal the soul of this country without first delivering swift justice to all its enemies — foreign and domestic.”
Trump will be out of office as of January 20, when Joe Biden is sworn in as president, but he must be impeached anyway, given the danger of what he could do in the remaining days of his term and the consequences of letting his actions go unpunished, Cicilline wrote in a New York Times op-ed published Monday.
“Failing to act would set an irresponsibly dangerous precedent for future presidents who are about to leave office,” Cicilline wrote. “Further, there can be no healing of the divisions in our country without justice for the man most responsible for this horrific insurrection. The president must be held accountable. That can happen only by impeaching him for a second time and convicting him in the Senate. A conviction that would allow Congress to prohibit him from ever serving in federal office again.” Also, the congressman said, “Trump becomes more of a threat to public safety by the moment.”
The House impeached Trump in December 2019 on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, relating to the pressure he put on the government of Ukraine in a failed attempt to find incriminating information on Biden and his son Hunter; Hunter had worked for a Ukrainian energy company. But the Senate, which holds the trial, failed to convict Trump, so he was not removed from office. The House will vote Wednesday on whether to approve the article of impeachment and therefore set up the trial.
Cicilline has been a member of Congress since 2011. Before that he was mayor of Providence — the first out gay mayor of a state capital — and a Rhode Island state representative.