US Speaker Nancy Pelosi has called on Vice President Mike Pence and the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment to immediately remove President Donald Trump from office following the deadly riots at the U.S. Capitol.
She cited “seditious” acts related to the president’s role in encouraging the assault on the US Capitol a day earlier.
“If the vice president and the Cabinet do not act, the Congress may be prepared to move forward with impeachment,” Pelosi said.
Pelosi joined a growing number of lawmakers in demanding the end to Trump’s presidency, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, either through the 25th Amendment or impeachment despite Trump having less than two weeks left in office.
Democrats and many Republicans have blamed Trump for inciting his supporters to storm the Capitol Wednesday in a failed effort to block certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.
Democrats’ bid to immediately remove President Donald Trump from office is taking on growing urgency after a mob of his supporters stormed the Capitol, as key lawmakers plot ways to take action and force Congress into session next week.
A once-unthinkable push for a second impeachment vote is steadily gaining ground across the House Democratic Caucus, with members incensed at Trump’s role in the deadly chaos on Wednesday that gripped Capitol Hill — and put the lives of themselves and their staff at danger, according to multiple lawmakers and aides.
Using the 25 Amendment is a mechanism that allows the US vice president, in this case, Mike Pence, and a majority of the cabinet to remove a president from his duties. The amendment creates a process to remove a president who is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office”. It was designed for serious illness or incapacitation. But its wording leaves open the possibility that a president deemed incapable of carrying out his duties due to his mental state could be removed.
A majority of the cabinet and Mr Pence would need to write a letter to congressional leaders proposing the change. Mr Trump could respond. If the group still wanted to make the move it would be done. Democratic congressional leaders have called for this to happen but Republicans may pause on the implications of forcibly removing a leader of their own party from office.
Impeachment is another option available to Congress. Democratic congressmen called for this yesterday. The mechanism is a way for Congress – rather than the president’s cabinet – to remove a sitting president. The process is as follows: The US House of Representatives would need to pass at least one article of impeachment. For that to happen a majority of House members would have to vote yes. The hurdle is something that amounts to “high crimes and misdemeanours”, or treason or bribery. If that happens then it would be over to the US Senate.
A trial would take place. Senators would vote on whether to acquit or convict. Two-thirds of senators must vote to convict for Mr Trump to be removed. There is no set time limit to proceedings, so theoretically there is time for Mr Trump to be impeached and removed before the January 20 inauguration. It is a question of political will.
The Democrats control the House, which means if their leadership wants impeachment and their House members agree then they can secure impeachment without any Republican votes. The situation in the Senate would be much less clear. More than a dozen Republican senators would have to vote to remove Mr Trump to hit the two-thirds threshold.