House Democrats will launch their final offensive against President Donald Trump this week.
On Sunday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California announced a two-step process: First, the House will demand that Vice President Mike Pence act to remove Trump using the 25th Amendment. If that fails, the House will then begin the process of impeaching Trump.
Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer have been demanding since Thursday that Pence invoke the 25th Amendment, which allows for the vice president and Cabinet to remove from office a president who is not capable of fulfilling his duties.
The Democrats have not received a formal response from the vice president, but Pence’s office has indicated he will oppose such a move, according to Fox News.
In a message posted on her website, Pelosi said that on Monday, Democrats will act Monday to seek what’s known as unanimous consent to bring up a resolution demanding Pence “convene and mobilize the Cabinet to activate the 25th Amendment to declare the President incapable of executing the duties of his office.” In that process, if any Republicans object, Democrats cannot bring the bill to the floor.
If, as is likely, that takes place, Pelosi said the resolution would make it to the House floor Tuesday. With Democrats holding a House majority and some Republicans seeking to distance themselves from Trump in the aftermath of last week’s Capitol incursion, passage seems likely.
The House will demand that Pence reply within 24 hours.
If this effort to have Trump removed fails, Pelosi said, “we will proceed with bringing impeachment legislation to the Floor.”
The extent to which this is more than symbolic is questionable due to time constraints. President-elect Joe Biden takes office on Jan. 20, which is one week from Wednesday. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said the soonest the Senate could begin the constitutionally required trial of the president would be after Biden’s inauguration, when Trump will no longer be president.
In her message, Pelosi promised “we will act with urgency, because this President represents an imminent threat to both. As the days go by, the horror of the ongoing assault on our democracy perpetrated by this President is intensified and so is the immediate need for action.”
The resolution to have Trump removed claims that Wednesday’s “insurrectionary protests were widely advertised and broadly encouraged by President Donald J. Trump, who repeatedly urged his millions of followers on Twitter and other social media outlets to come to Washington on January 6 to ‘Stop the Steal’ of the 2020 Presidential election and promised his activist followers that the pro- test on the Electoral College counting day would be ‘wild.'”
The resolution says Trump should be removed because he “has demonstrated repeatedly, continuously, and spectacularly his absolute inability to discharge the most basic and fundamental powers and duties of his office, including most recently the duty to respect the legitimate results of the Presidential election, the duty to respect the peaceful transfer of democratic power under the Constitution, the duty to participate in legally defined transition activities, the duty to protect and uphold the Constitution of the United States, including the counting of Electoral College votes by Congress, the duty to protect the people of the United States and their elected representatives against domestic insurrection, mob rule, and seditious violence, and generally the duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”
Pelosi said in a Sunday interview that her preference is to have Pence be the one who removes Trump.
“It gets rid of him,” she said on CBS’ “60 Minutes.”
Given that Trump cannot be removed from office through impeachment, due to the timing, Democrats might wait to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate, House Majority Whip James Clyburn of South Carolina told CNN.
The possible gain there is to avoid having an impeachment trial conflict with Biden’s legislative agenda and Cabinet confirmations.
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