Out congressman David Cicilline has been receiving threats over his key role in the efforts to impeach Donald Trump for a second time.
The Rhode Island Democratic lawmaker, who is is co-chair of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus, is lead sponsor of the articles of impeachment going before the House of Representatives, which charge Trump with “Incitement of Insurrection” over the storming of the US Capitol.
As the impeachment measure was introduced in the House on Monday, Cicilline received a deluge of violent and hateful threats.
Voicemail messages, aired by CNN after being shared with law enforcement, reveal anonymous callers branding Cicilline a “little b***h”, warning him: “You’ve got 80 f**king million people coming after you, you commie little f**ks.”
Another threatens: “If you impeach him, civil war is on, buddy.”
Lawmakers are hoping to remove Trump from office to avoid further damage
Aside from the invocation of the 25th amendment by a vice president, impeachment is the only measure that can coercively remove a president from office.
The impeachment measure is expected to clear the House of Representatives when it comes to a vote.
However, it is unlikely to secure Trump’s exit removal from office, as Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell has said a trial will not start before 20 January, the day Trump is already set to leave office.
Conviction in the Senate requires a two-thirds majority, which is unlikely with Republicans holding 50 of the 100 Senate seats.
Writing in the New York Times on Monday (11 January), congressman Cicilline said Trump had “incited an insurrection against the government and the Constitution that he swore to uphold”.
He wrote: “The American people witnessed Mr Trump’s actions for themselves. We all saw his speech on 6 January. We watched his fanatics storm the Capitol at his request.
“Five people died, including a US Capitol Police officer and four of the president’s supporters. We fear what Mr Trump may do with his remaining time in office.”
Out congressman David Cicilline says president ‘must be held accountable’
The lawmaker continued: “Some argue that another impeachment trial would further divide our country and further inflame Trump supporters. But the truth is that we do not have a choice.
“This impeachment charge is meant to defend the integrity of the republic. Both Democratic and Republican members of Congress must attend to the duties of their oath. Failing to act would set an irresponsibly dangerous precedent for future presidents who are about to leave office.
“Further, there can be no healing of the divisions in our country without justice for the man most responsible for this horrific insurrection. The president must be held accountable.
“That can happen only by impeaching him for a second time and convicting him in the Senate. A conviction that would allow Congress to prohibit him from ever serving in federal office again.”