House Democrats on Monday introduced an article of impeachment against President Trump for inciting a mob that attacked the Capitol last week, vowing to press the charge as President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. said he was considering splitting the first days of his administration between impeachment and advancing his agenda.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her caucus also sought to ratchet up pressure on Vice President Mike Pence to intervene and push Mr. Trump to resign or strip him of power under the 25th Amendment. If they did not, the Democrats promised immediate consequences for Mr. Trump’s role in an attack that put the lives of the vice president, members of Congress and thousands of staff working on Capitol Hill at risk as officials met to formalize Mr. Biden’s victory.
“The president’s threat to America is urgent, and so too will be our action,” Ms. Pelosi said on Monday.
Asked about the impeachment proceeding, Mr. Biden noted on Monday that his top priority is the passage of a new economic stimulus plan and repairing the U.S. economy.
But Mr. Biden added that he had spoken to House and Senate Democrats about whether it would be possible to “bifurcate” Congressional business, splitting days between impeachment and confirming his nominees and passing his agenda.
“I haven’t gotten an answer from the Parliamentarian yet,” the president-elect said at Christiana Hospital in Newark, Del., where he received a second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine.
As expected, Republicans objected to a resolution calling on Mr. Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment, meaning that the House would have to call a full vote on the measure, most likely on Tuesday. Democratic leaders were confident it would pass, and pressured Republican lawmakers to vote with them to beseech the vice president, who is said to be opposed to using the powers outlined in the Constitution, to do so.
It was a remarkable threat. If Mr. Pence does not intervene “within 24 hours” after passage and the president does not resign, House leaders said they would move on Wednesday to consider the impeachment resolution on the floor, just a week after the attack. Already more than 210 Democrats have signed onto the leading charge, just shy of a majority of the House. Several Republicans were said to be considering voting to impeach for the first time, though party leaders were opposed.
“There may well be a vote on impeachment on Wednesday,” Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, the majority leader, told reporters. He also pushed back against those arguing the House should delay sending the case to the Senate for trial until after Mr. Biden has a chance to fill his cabinet and pass coronavirus relief legislation.
“Whether impeachment can pass the United States Senate is not the issue,” he said. “The issue is we have a president who most of us believe participated in encouraging an insurrection and attack on this building, and on democracy and trying to subvert the counting of the presidential ballot.”
Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, has said that his chamber would not be able to take up Mr. Trump’s impeachment before the president leaves office on Jan. 20. There appears to be nothing in the Constitution prohibiting the impeachment of a president after he leaves office, however. And even though it will be too late to remove Mr. Trump from power, the Senate — which after Inauguration Day will be controlled by Democrats — can still vote to prevent him from serving another term.
But some Democrats are concerned that another impeachment fight will be bitter and time-consuming, complicating Mr. Biden’s efforts to quickly confirm his cabinet and pass a new economic stimulus measure, among other initiatives.
The four-page impeachment article charges Mr. Trump with “inciting violence against the government of the United States” when he sowed bogus claims about election fraud and encouraged his supporters at a rally outside the White House to take extraordinary measures to stop the counting of electoral votes underway at the Capitol. A short time later, rioters mobbed the building, ransacking the seat of American government and killing a Capitol Police officer. (Four others also died as a result of injuries or medical emergencies on Capitol grounds.)
Mr. Trump met with Mr. Pence on Monday for the first time since their falling out last week over the president’s effort to overturn the election and the mob assault on the Capitol that put the vice president in danger.
The two talked for an hour or more in the Oval Office in what amounted to a fraught peace summit meeting with the remainder of the Trump presidency at stake. Mr. Pence holds Mr. Trump’s fate in his hands as he faces pressure to invoke the 25th Amendment.
An administration official who declined to be identified speaking about the sensitive situation said the two had “a good conversation” but would not say whether the issue of the 25th Amendment came up. Mr. Pence has privately indicated that he did not intend to invoke the amendment, deeming it an unwieldy mechanism to remove the president.