WASHINGTON -- The U.S. House pushed ahead Tuesday toward impeaching President Donald Trump over last week's deadly Capitol attack, pausing only to try to persuade Vice President Mike Pence to push the president out first.
On Tuesday, Trump blamed impeachment for the "tremendous anger" in America.
Scheduled to leave office next week, Trump is on the verge of becoming the only president in history to be impeached twice.
The House on Tuesday night approved a resolution urging Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to the Constitution to remove Trump with a Cabinet vote and "declare what is obvious to a horrified Nation: That the President is unable to successfully discharge the duties and powers of his office." The resolution was approved 223-205.
All four members of Arkansas' delegation voted against the measure.
Democrats proceeded even though Pence said he would not do what the resolution asked. In a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, he said it would not be in the best interest of the nation and that it was "time to unite our country as we prepare to inaugurate President-elect Joe Biden."
Meanwhile, four Republican lawmakers, including third-ranking House GOP leader Liz Cheney of Wyoming, announced that they would vote to impeach Trump today.
"The President of the United States summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack," Cheney said in a statement. "There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution."
Reps. John Katko of New York, a former federal prosecutor, Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, an Air Force veteran, and Fred Upton of Michigan announced that they, too, would vote to impeach.
"To allow the president of the United States to incite this attack without consequences is a direct threat to the future of our democracy," Katko said.
Kinzinger added, "If these actions ... are not worthy of impeachment, then what is an impeachable offense?"
As lawmakers reconvened Tuesday at the Capitol, they were also bracing for more violence ahead of Biden's Jan. 20 inauguration.
"All of us have to do some soul searching," said Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, imploring other Republicans to join.
Sen. Mitch McConnell, meanwhile, has concluded that Trump committed impeachable offenses and believes that Democrats' move to impeach him will make it easier to purge Trump from the party, according to people familiar with McConnell's thinking. McConnell, a close adviser said, has not decided how he will vote on impeachment and wants to hear the case first.
Even before McConnell's position was known and Cheney had announced her plans, advisers to the Senate Republican leader had already privately speculated that a dozen Republican senators -- and possibly more -- could ultimately vote to convict Trump in a Senate trial that would follow his impeachment by the House.
Seventeen Republicans would be needed to join Democrats in finding him guilty.
In the House, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the minority leader, has asked other Republicans whether he ought to call on Trump to resign in the aftermath of last week's riot at the Capitol, according to three Republican officials briefed on the conversations.
While he has said he is personally opposed to impeachment, he and other party leaders did not mount an official effort to defeat the push, and McCarthy was working Tuesday to build support for a censure resolution to rebuke the president for his actions.
Trump, meanwhile, denied any culpability in the riot. He said his remarks encouraging throngs of supporters to march to the Capitol in a show of force to pressure and intimidate lawmakers to overturn the election results were "totally appropriate."
During a Tuesday visit to a portion of newly constructed border wall in the Rio Grande Valley, Trump warned against the effort by congressional Democrats to remove him from office.
"The impeachment hoax is a continuation of the greatest and most vicious witch hunt in the history of our country and is causing tremendous anger and division and pain, far greater than most people will ever understand, which is very dangerous for the U.S.A., especially at this very tender time," Trump said.
Trump for the first time addressed the calls from Democrats and even some Republicans for Pence and the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment.
"The 25th Amendment is of zero risk to me but will come back to haunt Joe Biden and the Biden administration," Trump said. "As the expression goes, 'Be careful what you wish for.'"
Trump faces a single charge -- "incitement of insurrection" -- in the impeachment resolution after the domestic incursion at the Capitol.
During a debate ahead of the House action, Rep. Norma Torres, D-Calif., urged her Republican colleagues to understand the stakes, recounting a phone call from her son as she fled during the siege.
"Sweetie, I'm OK," she told him. "I'm running for my life."
But Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, refused to concede that Biden won the election outright.
Democratic Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., tied such talk to the Capitol attack, saying, "People came here because they believed the lie."
The unprecedented events, with just over a week remaining in Trump's term, are unfolding in a nation bracing for more unrest. The FBI has warned of potential armed protests in Washington and many states by Trump loyalists ahead of Biden's inauguration, and Capitol Police warned lawmakers to be on alert. The inauguration ceremony on the west steps of the Capitol will be off limits to the public.
In the Senate, Republican Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania joined GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska over the weekend in calling for Trump to "go away as soon as possible."
Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, did not go that far, but on Tuesday called on Trump to address the nation and explicitly urge his supporters to refrain from further violence. If not, he said, Trump "will bear responsibility."
No member of the Cabinet has publicly called for Trump to be removed from office through the 25th Amendment.
Biden has said it's important to ensure that the "folks who engaged in sedition and threatening the lives, defacing public property, caused great damage -- that they be held accountable."
Fending off concerns that an impeachment trial would bog down Biden's first days in office, the president-elect is encouraging senators to divide their time between taking up his priorities of confirming his nominees and approving covid relief while also conducting the trial.
Senate Democratic leader Charles Schumer suggested in a letter to colleagues Tuesday that the chamber would do both.
As Congress resumed, an uneasiness swept the halls. More lawmakers tested positive for covid-19 after sheltering during the siege. Many lawmakers may choose to vote by proxy rather than go to Washington, a process that was put in place last year to limit the health risks of travel.
McCarthy was among those echoing the president, saying "impeachment at this time would have the opposite effect of bringing our country together."
Democrats say they have the votes for impeachment. The impeachment bill drafted by Reps. David Cicilline of Rhode Island and Ted Lieu of California, during the riot lockdown, and joined by Raskin of Maryland and Jerrold Nadler of New York draws from Trump's own statements about his election defeat to Biden.Gallery: Trump tours border wall
Judges across the country have repeatedly dismissed cases challenging the election results, and former Attorney General William Barr has said there was no sign of widespread fraud in the election.
The impeachment legislation also details Trump's pressure on state officials in Georgia to "find" him more votes, as well as his White House rally ahead of the Capitol siege, in which he encouraged thousands of supporters to "fight like hell" and march to the building.
The mob overpowered police, broke through security lines and windows, and rampaged through the Capitol, forcing lawmakers to scatter as they were finalizing Biden's Electoral College victory over Trump.
A Capitol Police officer died from injuries suffered in the riot, and police shot a woman during the violence. Three other people died in what authorities said were medical emergencies.
While some have questioned impeaching the president so close to the end of his term, there is precedent. In 1876, during the Ulysses Grant administration, War Secretary William Belknap was impeached by the House the day he resigned, and the Senate convened a trial months later. He was acquitted.
Information for this article was contributed by Lisa Mascaro, Zeke Miller, Mary Clare Jalonick, Alan Fram, Jill Colvin, Ellen Knickmeyer and Bill Barrow of The Associated Press; by Jonathan Martin, Maggie Haberman and Nicholas Fandos of The New York Times; and by Philip Rucker, Josh Dawsey, Mike DeBonis and Erica Werner of The Washington Post.