WASHINGTON - U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday refused to accept any blame over his role in inciting a violent attack on the Capitol last week as a second impeachment looms, likely to be supported not only by the Democrats but some of his fellow Republicans.
Pro-Trump supporters storm the U.S. Capitol following a rally with President Donald Trump on Jan. 6, 2021 in Washington, D.C. Trump supporters gather in the nation's capital to protest the ratification of President-elect Joe Biden's Electoral College victory over President Trump in the 2020 election. (Getty/Kyodo)

"People thought that what I said was totally appropriate," Trump said in his first remarks to reporters since the deadly riot, referring to his speech during a rally that took place shortly before a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol in protest of the president's November election loss.

The 74-year-old Republican, whose term is set to end on Jan. 20, also said the Democratic Party's push to impeach him over the riot is causing "tremendous anger," but noted, "I want no violence."

But Trump's influence on his own party is waning, with four Republicans in the House of Representatives, including the third-ranking Liz Cheney, declaring that they will vote to impeach the president.

"The president of the United States summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack. Everything that followed was his doing," Cheney said in a press release.

"None of this would have happened without the president. The president could have immediately and forcefully intervened to stop the violence. He did not. There has never been a greater betrayal by a president of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution," she added.

Before moving ahead with a plan to consider articles of impeachment on Wednesday, the Democratic-controlled House delivered an ultimatum to Vice President Mike Pence, asking him to invoke his constitutional authority to remove Trump from office.

The resolution the House passed Tuesday calls on Pence to "immediately use his powers" under the 25th Amendment of the Constitution, which allows for the vice president and a majority of the Cabinet to declare the president unfit for office, enabling the second-in-command to become acting president.

But Pence made clear that he will not resort to the emergency measure, saying that it is designed to address presidential "incapacity or disability" and not "a means of punishment or usurpation."

"Invoking the 25th Amendment in such a manner would set a terrible precedent," he said in a letter addressed to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat.

With the majority of Democrats and backing from some Republicans, Trump is likely to become the first president in U.S. history to be impeached twice.

He was first impeached in late 2019, charged with abusing the power of his office and obstructing Congress over actions seen to have been aimed at boosting his re-election chances. He was later acquitted in the Republican-held Senate.

The charge Trump faces this time is "incitement of insurrection." If the president is impeached, the case heads to the Senate for a trial to decide whether to convict and remove him from office.

The chance of Trump being ousted before his term ends on Jan. 20 seems slim so far, given the limited time remaining in his term and the current Republican majority in the Senate.

A mob loyal to U.S. President Donald Trump marches toward the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021. The move came after Trump urged his supporters to descend on Washington to protest Congress' impending certification of Joe Biden as the winner of the November presidential election. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

But the Democrats see the impeachment as meaningful since it could lead to Trump being disqualified from holding "any office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States" in future, according to the impeachment resolution.

Historical precedents show that a disqualification could be achieved by a simple majority vote in the Senate, rather than the two-thirds majority required for removal from office, according to a congressional research service report from November 2019.

As Democrats are set to retake control of the Senate in the wake of runoffs in Georgia, they might be able to block Trump's possible bid in the next presidential election in 2024 without the help of Republican lawmakers.

During the Capitol attack on Jan. 6, rioters swarmed the building while Congress was engaged in a process to certify Democratic President-elect Joe Biden's election win. The intruders violently clashed with police officers, smashed windows and ransacked offices.

Videos showed a crowd chanting "Hang Mike Pence," who was presiding over the certification process, apparently because his decision not to challenge the electoral votes was seen as a failure to fight for Trump's desired outcome. Under the U.S. Constitution, the vice president does not have the authority to reject electoral votes as certified by U.S. states.

Five people, including a fervent Trump supporter and a police officer, died in the chaos.

Trump had spoken in front of thousands of his supporters in Washington before the Capitol siege, reiterating his baseless claims that he won the election and urging the crowd to march to the national legislature and "fight like hell."