Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says President Donald Trump's behavior gave House Democrats no choice but to move toward impeaching him a second time after the deadly assault on the U.S. Capitol.
“What he did was certainly impeachable," Reid told The Associated Press in an interview Monday. He said the president's actions inciting a mob that ransacked the Capitol is "about as close to criminal as anything I can imagine, what he's done.”
The House is scheduled to begin debating a resolution Wednesday that charges the president with “incitement of insurrection.” Before the debate, Democrats are first calling on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke constitutional authority under the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office before Jan. 20, when Democrat Joe Biden is to be inaugurated.
House Democrats plan to move quickly on the articles but delay a Senate trial for 100 days, which Reid said would allow them to first take action on Biden administration nominees and another round of coronavirus relief legislation.
Trump spokesman Judd Deere said last week that “a politically motivated impeachment" against a president with few days remaining in his term "will only serve to further divide our great country.”
Reid, who worked as a U.S. Capitol Police officer while putting himself through law school, said the siege showed a need to shake up the police operation. He applauded the ouster of the sergeants at arms of both the House and Senate.
“That was really somewhat scary to me, having worked in the Capitol as a police officer both on the Senate side and on the House side, to see the rampage that took place,” he said. “That was really hard for me to accept.”
Despite leaving the Senate in 2016, Reid remains the most influential figure in Nevada Democratic politics and has played a key role in building up the state party organization that's been dubbed the “Reid Machine.”
Biden won Nevada in the election by 2.4%, but Trump has had a strong base of support in the swing state.
The Democratic Party next year will try to keep a Senate seat held by Catherine Cortez Masto and the governor's office held by Steve Sisolak.
Reid said he thinks both incumbents are in a strong position to win reelection and noted that the Republicans whose names have been floated as possible challengers — such as U.S. Rep. Mark Amodei and former Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Adam Laxalt — are based in northern Nevada, making it more difficult to break through in southern Nevada's Clark County, where about 74% of the state's population lives.