WASHINGTON — Four days after being sworn in as a U.S. representative, freshman Hawaii Congressman Kai Kahele said Thursday he will sign on to articles of impeachment being circulated by his Democratic colleagues to oust President Trump before his term ends Jan. 20.

The impeachment effort began after an angry mob of Trump supporters attacked police officers and broke into the U.S. Capitol Wednesday to protest the results of the 2020 presidential election that was won by former Vice President Joe Biden.

Trump supporters descended on Washington to protest former Vice President Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 general election. Nick Grube/Civil Beat

The insurrectionists were bolstered by Trump’s false claims and conspiracy theories that the election was somehow rigged and that there was widespread voter fraud despite a lack of evidence.

Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee, including U.S. Reps. Dave Cicilline, Ted Lieu and Jamie Raskin, began circulating articles of impeachment on Thursday in response to the violence.

Kahele immediately announced via Twitter that he was on board.

“I have just informed Congressman Cicilline that I will sign the Articles of Impeachment as an original co-sponsor,” Kahele said. “It is time to remove the President from office.”

In an interview with Civil Beat on Wednesday, Kahele, who is a lieutenant colonel in the Hawaii Air National Guard, described the people who stormed the capitol as “seditionists” and “borderline domestic terrorists.”

He said Trump needed to be removed from office immediately.

Hawaii Congressman Kai Kahele says Trump needs to leave office immediately. Nick Grube/Civil Beat/2020

“The president is a national disgrace,” Kahele said. “We cannot wait 14 more days for President-elect Joe Biden.”

California Congressman Jared Huffman, a Democrat, publicly applauded Kahele for his willingness to impeach the president while also taking a swipe as his predecessor, former U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who famously voted “present” the last time the House impeached Trump.

“Welcome to Congress my friend, and well done,” Huffman said on Twitter. “So glad you’re replacing an erratic member who might have been out there doing a photo op with ‘the patriots.’”

Hawaii Congressman Ed Case was traveling back to Hawaii on Thursday and not immediately available for an interview.

UPDATE:

Case issued a statement late Thursday blaming the Trump for inciting the riot.

He encouraged Vice President Mike Pence and Trump’s cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment to wrest power away from the president until Biden is sworn in, but said that he is still “reviewing specific impeachment proposals.”

“The President’s recent actions, including his flagrant attempted subversion of our election process and his incitement of yesterday’s violent attack on our U.S. Capitol cross any reasonable line into an assault on our very foundations,” Case said.

“They demonstrate that the President is an immediate danger to our democracy, our country and our citizens, justifying his removal from office for inability to discharge his duties under our Constitution.”

He added that simply waiting until Trump’s term ends is too dangerous.

“The power of the Presidency is immense, and its continued abuse cannot be risked,” Case said. “And the precedent of acceding to such abuse cannot be accepted.”

Hawaii Sen. Mazie Hirono similarly wants to see Trump thrown out of office, but she told Civil Beat that the impeachment process would take too long.

Instead, she said she would prefer to see Vice President Mike Pence and members of Trump’s cabinet stop “resigning like rats leaving a sinking ship” and invoke the 25th Amendment to deem Trump unfit and “save our country from this dangerous person.”

“I am not saying that I have any hope that this bunch of sycophants who surround the president will do their jobs and do the right thing,” Hirono said. “But I think it is really important for us to call them on it.”

Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz, who has been outspoken about the raid on the U.S. Capitol and Republicans’ attempted “coup”, was not immediately available for an interview but he said on Twitter that he, too, wants Trump gone.

“Trump is a danger to democracy itself,” Schatz said.

“I took an oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. We must both initiate impeachment proceedings in the House and invoke the 25th Amendment. Our vigilance must increase, not wane, in the final days.”

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