U.S. Rep. Scott Franklin, a Lakeland Republican, said “Yes” Tuesday that President Donald Trump bears some responsibility for the riot in the Capitol a week ago.
How much responsibility the president bears will be learned in coming days, including finding out when Trump’s administration called out the National Guard to quell the breach of the Capitol, he said.
But the newly elected member of Congress said a slam-dunk impeachment by the House of Representatives without all the information necessary for removing the president would be inappropriate.
House members are debating Articles of impeachment today. Watch live via C-SPAN.
Franklin said invoking the 25th Amendment to the Constitution to get rid of Trump is the job of Vice President Mike Pence and Trump’s Cabinet, not Congress.
Franklin voted no Tuesday night when the House passed a resolution, 223 to 205, calling on Pence to invoke the 25th amendment. Only one Republican joined the Democratic majority in favor of the resolution. Pence has said he would not take steps to remove Trump, prompting today’s pending impeachment vote.
Franklin’s 15th House District stretches from eastern Hillsborough County to southern Lake County and takes in most of greater Lakeland. He communicated with LkldNow via text message Tuesday.
“There are a number of questions I’d like to have answered, not the least of which is whether the president requested National Guard deployment before or after the siege. I’ve been given conflicting answers by otherwise reputable sources,” Franklin said.
Widely circulated network videos on Tuesday showed Trump calling the impeachment inquiry a witch hunt and saying his behavior that fateful day was appropriate.
CNN reported Tuesday night that, unlike Trump’s first impeachment, some Republican House members will vote today to impeach.
Fox News reported Tuesday that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is furious with Trump about Trump’s behavior the day of the riot.
“All our words matter, but the higher a person is in the leadership chain or position of influence, the more critical it is to use them with care,” Franklin said. “That said, I still don’t condone ANYONE’s behavior who rationalizes breaking the law to achieve their objective. “
Ramming through an impeachment proceeding in a day “isn’t going to do anything to heal the hard feelings of 75 million people who did vote for Trump. It looks more like a kangaroo court.”
“Without due process that should be a part of impeaching any president, we risk turning what should be a very serious legal proceeding into a partisan tool to be used anytime a majority party wants to declare loss of faith in a president,” Franklin said.
“I want to see a bipartisan committee established to investigate not only what transpired last Wednesday, but everything leading up to it. Everyone who breached the Capitol committed a federal offense and should (be) held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”
He said he hasn’t yet seen the Impeachment Articles.
“Is the desire to impeach based on a pattern of speech and conduct leading up to Jan 6, comments he specifically made at the rally that day, alleged comments or requests regarding use of military force with defense officials, the taped phone conversation with the Georgia attorney general, or what? I don’t know. I’ve read that Rep. Omar already had legislation to impeach already drafted prior to Jan 6, based on the Georgia phone call.”
Ilhan Omar is a Minnesota-based House member and a member of the so-called “Squad” of progressive lawmakers.
Franklin said he took President-elect Joe Biden and Democrats in Congress at their word when they pledged to begin healing the country. He said ramming an impeachment through Congress in one day would be improper procedure and a sham to due process of law.
‘With one week left in Trump’s presidency, the House Democrats are insisting on recalling members to impeach the President in one day. That has never happened before,” he said.
Franklin issued a statement this morning on his vote against invoking the 25th Amendment:
“The 25th amendment was designed to be used in the most extreme cases in our nation, not a political weapon to deploy against a political opponent. Last week’s events were unacceptable and un-American, and I will continue to denounce those attacks. However, it is inappropriate for Congress to instruct the vice president of the United States on how to carry out his constitutional duties.
“As laid out in the Constitution, it is solely to the discretion of the executive branch—the president’s cabinet—to determine whether or not the president should be removed based on the Constitution.
“For that reason, I voted against H.Res. 21 calling for the vice president to invoke the 25th amendment. While the House Democrats continue to take political jabs at a transitioning president, my focus is on moving forward to unite Americans and heal our country.”