Manchin: Evidence to convict Trump in impeachment trial is "overwhelming"

 AP PhotoFILE - In this Feb. 5, 2020, file photo, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., speaks with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington.

In comments to USA Today, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said he would support the removal of President Donald Trump from office, though he noted that it may be impractical given the few days remaining in the president’s term.

He told the newspaper in a phone interview published Friday that the “country would be safer” if Trump could “leave in any way he can immediately legally” in the aftermath of a riot at the Capitol that left at least five people dead, including a police officer.

Manchin, who in 2016 won re-election to the Senate while Trump carried 68 percent of the West Virginia vote for president on the way to his surprising win, explained that if the Cabinet and Vice President Mike Pence invoked the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office, he would support their decision. He said he would also support impeaching the president.

Trump’s conduct to incite the riot was “without a doubt impeachable," Manchin said in the interview. He also said that the president’s son Donald Trump Jr. and his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani were “just as culpable” in inciting the “insurrection.”

But he noted that given the 12 days remaining in Trump’s presidency and the lack of Republican support for impeachment, it may not be practical to remove him from office. And so he urged Cabinet officials to stay in office, “please stay the course,” and, if necessary, speak truth to power on their situation.

In early 2020, Manchin voted to convict Trump after the House voted to impeach him for allegedly pressuring the Ukrainian president to open investigations into President-elect Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden. The Republican-controlled Senate voted to acquit Trump in February.

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