By Evan Peng
On Wednesday the House of Representatives voted 232-197 to once again impeach President Trump, this time charging him with “incitement of insurrection.”
At the last minute, in somewhat of an unexpected move for a sophomore representative that usually keeps a low profile, Rep. Anthony Gonzalez M.B.A ’14 (R-Ohio) announced on social media that he would be joining nine other Republican representatives in voting for impeachment.
The push for a second impeachment began last Wednesday, when a violent mob attacked the Capitol while Congress was in the process of certifying the presidential election results; this riot is the act of insurrection that the House has charged Trump as inciting.
As rioters smashed windows and overwhelmed Capitol police, Rep. Ted Lieu ’91 (D-Calif.) found himself sheltering in the office of his colleague Rep. David Cicilline (D-Rhode Island), watching the scenes unfold on TV.
“In that moment, we didn’t know how far the mob was willing to go, and who might be harmed. I texted my wife and my parents to let them know I was safe and in lockdown,” Lieu wrote Sunday in an op-ed for The Los Angeles Times.
Lieu’s office did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
By the time they emerged from the office, the two congressmen had drafted an article of impeachment against President Donald Trump, with the help of Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Maryland). That article of impeachment drafted by the three congressmen is now known in its final form as H.Res. 24, and it was the resolution passed by the House on Wednesday.
“The worst thing Congress can do now is to pretend that everything is normal and that we can put this crisis behind us,” Lieu wrote in his op-ed. “For justice and to heal our nation, we need to hold those involved in the insurrection accountable. That includes the president.”
Lieu’s story has drawn the praise of many, including Michael McFaul ’86 M.A. ’86, the director of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. McFaul, a former ambassador to Russia under the Obama administration, was impressed and moved by Lieu’s actions, adding that he believes impeachment is a necessary action at this juncture. “I strongly believe, unlike others, that impeachment is a means to unity,” he told The Daily on Wednesday prior to the vote.
Every House Democrat voted to impeach, including Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-California), whose district includes Stanford’s campus, as well as the other nine Stanford alumni in the House aside from Gonzalez.
On the Tuesday preceding the vote, Speaker Nancy Pelosi named the nine impeachment managers who will oversee the trial in the Senate. The impeachment managers, who are all lawyers, include Lieu, Cicilline and Raskin, as well as Rep. Joaquin Castro ’96 (D-Texas), who told The Daily on the night of the Capitol riot that he would support impeachment “because Donald Trump is both dangerous and also out of his mind.”
“For the first time in our nation’s history, the transfer of power has not been peaceful,” Castro said in a Tuesday press release. “The responsibility to serve as an impeachment manager is a solemn duty — one that arises from my oath to protect the Constitution and safeguard our democracy for future generations.”
Lieu echoed Castro in his own press release, noting, “Impeachment is Congress’s most solemn responsibility, and this is a position I do not take lightly. I served on Active Duty in the U.S. Military to defend the Constitution, and I intend on doing the same before the Senate.”
McFaul noted the majority academic consensus is that the United States has experienced a period of democratic decline — a phenomenon predating Trump, but accelerated in the Trump era.
“January 6th, I think, will go down in history as one of the darkest days for American democracy ever,” McFaul said, echoing his official statement as FSI Director the day following the attack.
“But I also hope — and notice, I’m using the verb hope — I also hope that it will be an inflection point, particularly within the Republican Party, and that there will be a reckoning that, at the end of the day, we all have to agree to the democratic rules of the game,” McFaul added. “So I’m cautiously optimistic that we may have had the low point here and that we will now begin to see, what will be a slow and difficult process, but democratic renewal in the United States.”
Contact Evan Peng at pengevan ‘at’ stanford.edu.