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Toomey Calls For Trump Resignation, Says Impeachment Unlikely

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Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania on Sunday joined Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski in calling for Trump to "resign and go away as soon as possible." 

Speaking on CNN Sunday morning, Toomey said that even though he believes Trump committed impeachable offenses in encouraging loyalists in the Capitol siege on Wednesday, he did not think there was enough time for the impeachment process to play out. Toomey said that Trump's resignation was the "best path forward, the best way to get this person in the rear view mirror for us." He was not optimistic that Trump would step down before his term ends on Jan. 20. 

Toomey had previously said on Fox News that Trump's role in encouraging the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol was an impeachable offense. But he hasn't committed to supporting an actual impeachment effort, and said "one of the things that I’m concerned about, frankly, is whether the [Democratic-led] House would completely politicize something."

Toomey, who has said he will not run for re-election or seek other office when his term expires in 2022,  has differed from Trump on some issues. But he supported Trump's re-election and did not disavow that backing on Sunday. While Trump's "character flaws were always very apparent," he said, voters' other choice was "an ever-more radicalized left-wing Democratic Party.”

Toomey asserted that "the President’s behavior after the election was wildly different than his behavior before. He descended into a level of madness and engaged in activity that was just absolutely unthinkable." But prior to that, he said,  Republicans had "very substantive success in the early parts of his administration, with a record-performing economy, with peace agreements in the Middle East, with restoring the strength of our military and all kinds of judicial confirmations.”

The White House had no immediate comment Sunday.

The House appears determined to act despite the short timeline. 

Late Saturday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., sent a letter to her colleagues reiterating that Trump must be held accountable. She told her caucus, now scattered across the country on a two-week recess, to "be prepared to return to Washington this week." 

"It is absolutely essential that those who perpetrated the assault on our democracy be held accountable," Pelosi wrote. "There must be a recognition that this desecration was instigated by the President." 

Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, has said an impeachment trial could begin as early as Inauguration Day, Jan. 20.

The new Democratic effort to stamp Trump's presidential record — for the second time and days before his term ends — with the indelible mark of impeachment is gaining supporters. Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I, a leader of the House effort to draft impeachment articles — or charges — accusing Trump of inciting insurrection, said Saturday that his group had grown to include 185 co-sponsors.

Lawmakers planned to formally introduce the proposal on Monday in the House, where articles of impeachment must originate. 

The articles, if passed by the House, could then be transmitted to the Senate for a trial, with senators acting as jurors who would ultimately vote on whether to acquit or convict Trump. If convicted, Trump would be removed from office and succeeded by the vice president.

A violent and largely white mob of Trump supporters overpowered police, broke through security lines and rampaged through the Capitol on Wednesday, forcing lawmakers to scatter as they were putting the final, formal touches on Biden's victory over Trump in the Electoral College. 

The crowd surged to the domed symbol of American democracy following a rally near the White House, where Trump repeated his bogus claims that the election was stolen from him and urged his supporters to march in force toward the Capitol. 

Five people, including a Capitol police officer, died as a result of the siege.

Chris Potter contributed to this report.