WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says President Donald Trump should immediately be removed from office or Congress may proceed to impeach him.
Pelosi on Thursday joined those calling on the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment to force Trump from office, including Memphis Democratic Congressman Steve Cohen, who was one of nearly 20 lawmakers who signed a letter urging Vice President Pence to do just that.
It came a day after a violent mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol, forcing the building into lockdown. Trump called them “very special” people and said he loved them.
She said at the Capitol: “The president of the United States incited an armed insurrection against America.” Pelosi says he could do further harm to the country: “Any day can be a horror show for America.”
Democrats including Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer and some Republicans want Trump removed before his term ends on Jan. 20 with Democrat Joe Biden’s inauguration. That could happen in several ways, but invoking the 25th Amendment has been called for most often and would allow Vice President Mike Pence to step into the role until the inauguration.
Elected officials such as Cohen admitted that with only 13 days left in the term, invoking the 25th Amendment seems unlikely.
“He’s got a bunch of second-rate, second team political lackies and they’re not gonna say put the guy out.” Cohen said.
It’s a complicated idea. The 25th Amendment has been invoked before, but never in the way that some politicians are calling for now.
The section most politicians are wanting to use is a rarity.
“The provision we’re talking about now, where it isn’t the President that initiates that, but the vice president, has never been used,” said Memphis political analyst and author Steve Mulroy.
Under this version, the Pence and a majority of the cabinet would need to sign a letter declaring Trump unfit to carry out his duties. Trump would be able to draft a rebuttal letter, starting a process that could last for weeks.
While it doesn’t seem realistic, there are other potential scenarios. If enough members from the House deem Trump’s recent actions were reckless and unlawful, impeachment is a possibility.
“What’s not implausible, would be to get a majority of the house to impeach, even if the Senate didn’t vote to remove,” said Mulroy. “That would make President Trump go down in history as the only President in US history who was impeached by the House twice.”
Divided into four sections, there are different variations of the amendment.
Here is how the 25th Amendment works:
In case of the removal of the President from office or of his death or resignation, the Vice President shall become President.
Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, the President shall nominate a Vice President who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress.
Whenever the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, such powers and duties shall be discharged by the Vice President as Acting President.
Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.
Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive department or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty-eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty-one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within twenty-one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two-thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office.
With Biden’s election win now certified, Trump has promised an “orderly” transition in just 13 days.
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