WASHINGTON - As the House debated impeaching President Donald Trump for a second time, House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy said Trump "bears responsibility" for last week’s pro-Trump Capitol riot that resulted in the deaths of five people, including a Capitol police officer. But McCarthy said he does not support impeachment, calling the process a "mistake."
McCarthy’s comments came amid an apparent rift within the Republican Party as several GOP lawmakers came forward to voice their support for the second impeachment of the president.
So far, the Republicans who have said they will vote to impeach Trump are Rep. John Katko, R-N.Y.; Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo.; Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill.; Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich.; Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Wash.; and Rep. Daniel Newhouse, R-Wash.
McCarthy, a close ally to Trump, said that while he decries Trump’s involvement in the deadly insurrection that occurred last week, he believes impeaching the president would be a "mistake" in such a short time frame.
The California lawmaker said Trump "should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding."
Trump leaves office Jan. 20 when President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated.
Meanwhile, the House is set to vote later Wednesday on impeaching Trump, accusing him of rallying and inciting the violent mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
McCarthy, instead, is calling for a fact-finding commission and censure resolution.
"A vote to impeach would further divide this nation, a vote to impeach will further fan the flames, the partisan division," McCarthy said.
Six Republican lawmakers introduced a resolution on Tuesday to censure Trump over what they said was his role in inciting the Jan. 6 siege of the U.S. Capitol by a violent mob of his supporters.
In a statement released by Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Penn., the Republican congressman wrote that he and five other GOP colleagues support censuring the president for his attempt to "unlawfully overturn the 2020 Presidential election and for violating his oath of office on January 6th, 2021," according to a press release.
The other House Republicans who support the legislation include Rep. Tom Reed, R-N.Y., who said, "This is an important step to hold the President accountable. Congress must make clear that it rejects extremism and condemns the President’s actions."
Republican Reps. Young Kim, Fred Upton, John Curtis and Peter Meijer, joined Fitzpatrick in introducing the resolution to censure Trump.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.