Trump Says He Is At "Zero Risk" Of Being Impeached But Biden Is, Takes No Blame For Capitol Riot

President Donald Trump on Tuesday claimed the 25th amendment will not be used to remove him from office but warned his successor Joe Biden it could be used against him.


'Free speech is under assault like never before. The 25th Amendment is of zero risk to me, but will come back to haunt Joe Biden and the Biden Administration. As the expression goes, be careful what you wish for,' Trump said.

Vice President Mike Pence's aides have made it clear he is unlikely to pursue the 25th amendment option. Trump has eight days remaining in office.  

The president made his remarks while in Texas to visit a newly-completed section of his border wall, the biggest promise of 2016 presidential campaign. 

In what is likely the final trip of his presidency, Trump signed a plaque hanging at the completed section in Alamo, Texas, cementing the physical legacy of his time in the White House.

'We can't let the next administration even think of taking it down,' he said of his wall. 

In Alamo, Texas, a city in the Rio Grande Valley near the U.S.-Mexican border - the president visited the 450th mile of the border wall his administration is building. The total is likely to hit 475 miles by January 20th, the day Biden takes the oath of office. Most of the wall built replaces small barriers that had already existed. 

In his remarks, Trump also briefly addressed the riots on Capitol Hill last week. He has not taken public responsibility for his roll in the insurrection. Democrats and some Republicans say he incited the unruly mob with his false rhetoric that the election was stolen from him.

Trump said respect for law enforcement is 'the foundation of the MAGA agenda' - referring to his 'Make America Great Again' slogan. Two Capitol Hill police officers died in the aftermath of the attack. 

'Now is the time for our nation to heal. And it's time for peace and for calm, respect for law enforcement and the great people within law enforcement is the foundation of the MAGA agenda. We're a nation of law and a nation of order,' Trump declared in his 20 minute speech. 

Three Cabinet officials and several administration officials quit in the aftermath of the riots. Several remaining aides have privately expressed disgust with how long it took Trump to criticize the mob and to call for the nation to heal. 

Before President Trump left for his Texas trip, he denied all responsibility for last week's riot, saying his fiery speech to his supporters before they marched on the Capitol was 'totally appropriate.'

WHO'S QUIT TRUMP ADMINISTRATION SINCE MAGA MOBBED CAPITOL HILL?

  1. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos 
  2. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao 
  3. Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf 
  4. Hope Hicks - who said it was not related to riots 
  5. Melania Trump's Chief of Staff Stephanie Grisham
  6. White House Social Secretary Rickie Niceta
  7. Deputy National Security Advisor Matt Pottinger 
  8. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Intelligence and Security John Costello 
  9. Special Envoy for Northern Ireland and former OMB Director and White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney 
  10. The National Security Council's Senior Director for Europe and Russia Ryan Tully  
  11. Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Matthews 
  12. Entire non-career staff of the Federal Aviation Administration 

In his first public remarks since Wednesday's MAGA storming of the Capitol, the president slammed Democrats, accusing them of creating 'tremendous danger' with their attempt to remove him from office but said repeatedly he wanted 'no violence.'

The president defended his speech at a rally on ellipse, where he encouraged his thousands of supporters to 'march' on the Capitol. 

They did so, leaving five dead and a path of destruction in their wake in the form of busted windows, broken furniture and destroyed office space. Dozens have now been rounded up by police and FBI.

'If you read my speech - and many people have done it and I've seen it both in the papers and in the media, on television, it is been analyzed - and people thought that what I said was totally appropriate,' he said as he boarded Air Force One to head for Alamo, Texas, on the Mexican border, to inspect his wall.

'They've analyzed my speech and my words and my final paragraph, my final sentence and everybody to a tee thought it was totally appropriate,' he continued. He offered no indication of who 'they' are.

Trump also denounced the Democrats' efforts to remove him from office, which has been joined by some Republicans, to remove him from office - and called it a 'danger,' not his supporters' actions.

But, he said he wanted no violence from his supporters. Trump reportedly had initially enjoyed the sight of his supporters on Capitol Hill last week, fighting for him to illegally take a second term in the White House. He changed his tune and called on them to stand down when he warned he could be held legally responsible for their actions.

'We want no violence, never violence. We want absolutely no violence,' he said repeatedly Tuesday before he left for Texas to tout the completion of a section of his border wall.

'And on the impeachment, it's really a continuation of the greatest witch hunt in the history of politics. It's ridiculous. It's absolutely ridiculous. This impeachment is causing tremendous anger,' he said.

He denounced Democratic leaders but made no mention of the Republicans who have called on him to leave office.

'It's really a terrible thing that they're doing for Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer to continue on this path. I think it's causing tremendous danger to our country, and it's causing tremendous anger, I want no violence,' he said.

Later Tuesday, the House will vote on legislation calling on Vice President Mike Pence to start the process to remove Trump via the 25th amendment. 

Speaker Nancy Pelosi set an ultimatum Monday that if Trump does not resign or Pence does not invoke the 25th Amendment, the House will move forward with impeaching the president for a second time.

The House will hold a vote Tuesday evening on a non-binding demand that Pence invoke the 25th Amendment. 

Pence's advisers say he is opposed to this measure, indicating he will likely not move forward with meeting pressures from congressional Democrats in Trump's final eight days.

Republicans who have publicly broken with Trump since Wednesday's Capitol riots 

 Sen. Pat Toomey (Pa.)

Said Trump 'committed impeachable offenses.'

Sen. Mitt Romney (Utah)

Said the president had caused 'this insurrection.'

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska)

Called on Trump to resign. ' I want him out.'

Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.)

Said Trump 'caused' the riot and called his response 'completely inadequate'

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (Ill.)

Called for Trump to resign and called 25th Amendment the 'next best thing.' Said he would 'vote the right way' on impeachment, without endorsing the tactic.

Rep. Peter Meijer (Mich.)

Said fellow Republicans told 'lied' and 'deceived' and called what happened an 'act of domestic terrorism'

The House could vote as early as Wednesday at 9 a.m. on articles of impeachment. Republicans are not doing a 'whip count' - meaning leadership will not be arm twisting their members to support Trump. Instead top GOP officials said lawmakers should vote their conscious.  

Pelosi told '60 Minutes' in an interview that aired Sunday that she prefers the 25th Amendment because that forces immediate removal, while impeachment wouldn't be resolved before Trump's term is up.

She fears Trump could use his final days to do more damage – like pardoning the mob who stormed the Capitol. 

The Senate is in recess, and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said they would not reconvene earlier than January 19 to receive articles from the House. 

This means even if the lower chamber did elevate impeachment, action wouldn't be taken on the measure until the day before Joe Biden's inauguration at the earliest. 

Trump's refusal to accept responsibility for Wednesday is likely to only anger further Democrats, but it is the Republican House and Senate caucus' reactions which will set his fate. 

Some Republicans have already called for him to go but none has so far publicly backed impeachment.

Lindsey Graham, who claimed he was 'done' with the president last week, appeared to have had a dramatic change of heart and was traveling with him on Air Force One.

But others have privately said they need to see Trump take some responsibility, meaning his refusal could drive them into the Democrats' camp on impeachment.

Republicans are emerging from Trump's presidency deeply divided and the impeachment vote could scar the party even more.

Trump's allies, including his son Donald Trump Jr., are threatening to primary any Republican who does not support the president.

Meanwhile, a group of former administration officials and anti-Trump Republicans - calling themselves the the Republican Accountability Project - said they would make a $50 million commitment to support GOP lawmakers who voted for Trump's impeachment, The New York Times reported.

Trump also road-tested a defense for his impeachment in his remarks on Tuesday.

At the end of Trump's remarks, he appeared to reference guidance he has received from attorneys and aides about the content of his Wednesday speech – which form the basis for the impeachment article charging him with 'incitement of insurrection.'

His comment follows reports that White House counsel Pat Cipollone had warned Trump that he faces potential legal exposure for the remarks he made to the crowd that went on to storm the Capitol.

Although Trump did not specifically tell anyone to break a window or trespass, he did tell them to 'fight,' that 'when you catch somebody in a fraud, you are allowed to go by very different rules,' that 'we're going to have to fight much harder,' and that 'if you don't fight like hell, you're not going to have a country anymore.'

He also spoke as if Vice President Pence could make a difference in the outcome. 'If Mike Pence does the right thing, we win the election,' Trump said - meaning overturning the Electoral College results, which Pence said he did not have the power to do.

The final substantive paragraph, which he defended, told his supporters that 'we' would march to the Capitol to 'take back our country.'

'So we are going to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue - I love Pennsylvania Avenue - and we are going to the Capitol.,' he said.

'And we are going to try and give — the Democrats are hopeless, they are never voting for anything, not even one vote — but we are going to try to give our Republicans — the weak ones because the strong ones don't need any of our help — going to try and give them the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country,' Trump said. 'So let's walk down Pennsylvania Avenue.'

He in fact returned to the White House.  

Trump's initial response to the MAGA riot was to release a video message where he told his followers he loved them.

'We love you, you're very special,' he said in the short video posted to his Twitter account, which was still active at the time.

And he reiterated his original message, which had helped incite the mob, that the election had been stolen.

'I know your pain, I know you're hurt. We had an election that was stolen from us. It was a landslide election and everyone knows it. Especially the other side. But you have to go home now. We have to have peace,' he said.

His message appeared to have no effect on the mob, who was heard yelling for Vice President Pence and Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

The day after the riots, Trump released a second video message where he acknowledged a 'new administration' was coming into the White House but he didn't congratulate President-elect Joe Biden nor even mention his name. He also denounced the mob.

'Those who violently besieged our Capitol, are the opposite of everything this administration stands for. The core value of our administration is the idea that all citizens have the right to live and safety, peace and freedom. Those who are working in this building are working to ensure an orderly transition of power. Now it is time for America to unites to come together to reject the violence that we have seen, we are one American people, full, under God,' he said.

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