House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) urged her Democratic caucus in a letter on Friday to return to Washington as she appears poised to have the Democrats move forward with impeaching President Donald Trump for a second time.
Pelosi and a number of prominent Democrats allege that Trump incited the protesters who breached the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. In a speech to a massive crowd of supporters that day, the president asked them to march to protest near the Capitol and "to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard." The president did not say anything about breaking into the building.
"When we take our oath of office, we promise to the American people our seriousness in protecting our democracy. For that reason, it is absolutely essential that those who perpetrated the assault on our democracy be held accountable. There must be a recognition that this desecration was instigated by the President," Pelosi wrote.
"We will be proceeding with meetings with Members and Constitutional experts and others," she added. "I urge you to be prepared to return to Washington this week."
The White House did not respond to a request for comment.
A number of social media platforms have banned Trump from posting new messages using the same rationale championed by Pelosi. Trump responded to the ban claiming that Twitter coordinated with the Democrats to remove his account and to silence "the 75,000,000 great patriots who voted for me."
Trump's term in office concludes at noon on Jan. 20. If the Democrats move forward with a process, it would become the fastest impeachment of a president in history.
Any charge against Trump will likely focus on his speech on Jan. 6, during which the president argued why the election was stolen from him and said that he will never concede.
"All of us here today do not want to see our election victory stolen by emboldened radical-left Democrats, which is what they're doing, and stolen by the fake news media. That's what they've done and what they're doing. We will never give up. We will never concede," Trump said.
The president also urged fellow Republicans to fight harder instead of "like a boxer with his hands tied behind his back." The Democrats could seize on the political metaphor and interpret it as a call for direct violence.
The closest Trump came to calling for direct action was in asking supporters to not cheer for the lawmakers who stand against him during the counting of the Electoral College votes in Congress that day.
"I think we're going to walk down to the Capitol and we're going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women, and we're probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them," Trump said.
"Because you'll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength and you have to be strong. We have come to demand that Congress do the right thing and only count the electors who have been lawfully slated. I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard."