The U.S. House of Representatives moved Monday to impeach President Donald Trump, for the second time, for his alleged role in last week's deadly riot at the Capitol.
Democratic leaders introduced an article of impeachment charging the president with 'incitement of insurrection' after Republicans blocked an effort to have the president removed under the 25th Amendment.
Democrats and some Republicans in Congress believe President Trump did, indeed, play a major role in stirring thousands of his supporters to violently storm the Capitol just as the House and Senate were beginning the process of formalizing President-elect Joe Biden's electoral college victory.
The siege left five people dead, including a Capitol police officer, and members want the president held accountable, if not by Vice President Mike Pence, then through a second impeachment.
"I can't imagine anything to make a horrible situation across the country...worse," said Oklahoma Senator James Lankford in a Zoom interview on Monday.
Sen. Lankford, (R) OK, said trying to impeach President Trump just days before his term ends is simply throwing gasoline on the fire and is the last thing the country needs right now.
In response to the question of whether he thinks the president should be punished in any way for his role in Wednesday's violence, Lankford said, "So, he needs to be able to get out all the details of what he was trying to do and what he did do."
Lankford said the full weight of the law needs to be brought to bear against the people who broke in and did damage to the Capitol, but "that's not necessarily the president's fault," Lankford reasoned, "that's that individual’s responsibility -- they should be held to account just like the president should be held to account for any actions he's done personally."
Lankford pointed out that criminal charges --if any were warranted against the president -- couldn't be brought and tried through an impeachment proceeding anyway.
Monday morning Democrats tried to approve a resolution through unanimous consent urging Vice President Pence to invoke the 25th amendment and, with the agreement of more than half of the President's cabinet, declare President Trump incapable of carrying out the duties of office.
The objection of Rep. Alex Mooney, (R) WV-2, means the resolution will be voted on in person, most likely on Tuesday.
If it does pass, Mr. Pence has given no indication he's willing to invoke the amendment, which is why Democratic leadership also moved ahead with the filing of articles of impeachment. In a very rushed process, the House could vote as soon as Wednesday on sending the charge to the Senate for trial.
Lankford and other Republicans are upset by the events of last Wednesday but said going forward with impeachment will only keep the angry rhetoric going.
"We've got to tamp down the rhetoric," Lankford said. "That is toxic to us as a culture and it's encouraging some unstable people to be able to do really foolish things."
We reached out to all seven members of Oklahoma's congressional delegation for this story. By the time of publication Monday evening, Sen. Lankford was the only one to respond.