President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence met on Monday for the first time since rioters stormed the US Capitol last week, signaling a united front as Democratic efforts to impeach Trump gain momentum.
The meeting in the Oval Office -- described as "a good conversation" by a senior official -- came ahead of a critical 48-hour period when Pence will come under pressure to break from the president and initiate his removal.
Just eight days before his term ends, and nearly a week after a failed insurrection scarred the seat of America's democracy, Trump headed to Texas yesterday in one of his final trips as president, desperate to reach friendlier territory so he can tout his administration's successes.
In Washington, though, he is the target of efforts to remove him from power, including a historic second impeachment, this time for "incitement of insurrection" over his supporters' deadly breach of the Capitol building.
First, the House of Representatives was scheduled to vote later yesterday on a longshot bid to get Pence and the cabinet to invoke the US Constitution's 25th Amendment, which would declare Trump unfit to perform his duties and install Pence as acting president.
Pence's meeting with Trump appeared to quash any prospects of that outcome.
Democrats will then follow up with impeachment proceedings, including a House vote expected today.
The move -- which threatens to torpedo any hopes of a political future for Trump -- could make for a tense culmination of four years of controversy ahead of Joe Biden's January 20 inauguration.
Trump has been largely silent in recent days, making few statements and holding no news conferences. He has been banned from Twitter, his favored public platform, for language that could incite violence.
Trump has privately blamed 'Antifa people' for storming the US Capitol, Axios reported. Trump made the remark in a 30-minute-plus phone call Monday morning with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Axios reported. However, McCarthy told Trump in the call, which according to Axios was tense and aggressive at times, "It's not Antifa, it's MAGA. I know. I was there."
The attack on Congress shook the core of American democracy and drew international condemnation. Trump is accused of whipping up the mob into storming the chambers as lawmakers certified Biden's election win.
Trump was already impeached once by the Democratic-controlled House in December 2019 for pressuring Ukraine's president to dig up political dirt on Biden. He was acquitted by the Republican-majority Senate.
The same outcome looms large again.
Although two Republican senators have publicly called on Trump to resign, Democrats are unlikely to muster the two-thirds majority needed to convict Trump in the 100-member Senate and remove him from office.