The leader of the Democratic majority in the United States House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, affirmed this Sunday that she is ready to launch a second impeachment process against President Donald Trump, unless he leaves the White House in the next few days.
Following Wednesday’s violence on Capitol Hill at the hands of Trump supporters, The House must rule on Monday and Tuesday on a resolution that asks Vice President Mike Pence and the cabinet to remove Trump from office by invoking the 25th amendment to the Constitution. “Then the legislation on the impeachment procedure will be presented” to lawmakers, Pelosi wrote in a letter to parliamentarians.
“To protect our Constitution and our democracy, we will act urgently, because this president represents an imminent threat to both,” added Pelosi, who has had a tense relationship with the president during his term.
Trump has already been impeached in Congress, where the Democratic opposition controls the House of Representatives, in December 2019, accused of pressuring the Ukrainian government to investigate Joe Biden. He was acquitted by the Senate, with a Republican majority.
Time is tight as Biden is due to take office on January 20, and while impeachment could begin, Democrats should win Senate support from their Republican rivals to conclude with the president’s removal from power. They are unlikely to get enough allies to reach the two-thirds majority of the 100-member Senate needed to convict Trump and remove him from office.
Amendment 25 to the Constitution was primarily designed to clarify the order of presidential succession. The first three sections deal with cases in which a president resigns, dies, becomes ill, or is temporarily incapacitated. The fourth section establishes a multi-step process for the vice president and a majority of officials at the head of executive branch agencies – known as the cabinet – to declare that the president is “unable to exercise the rights and duties of his office. ”. Said process, in the end, approval by a two-thirds vote of both houses of Congress.
The rule emerged after the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963. The episode led to confusion about how to elect a new president when Lyndon B. Johnson assumed the presidency. And there were concerns that Johnson would become ill or incapacitated before a replacement was found. Congress formally proposed Amendment 25 in 1965 and it became part of the Constitution in 1967 after 38 states ratified it.
How would it work if it was invoked now?
The first step would be for Vice President Mike Pence and a majority of the Cabinet to deliver a written statement to the interim President of the Senate (now Senator Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa) and the Speaker of the House (now the representative for California, Nancy Pelosi, Democrat), saying that Trump is “unable to exercise the rights and duties of his office.” That would immediately strip Trump of the powers of the presidency and Pence would be the acting president.
But the amendment would give Trump an opportunity to immediately send a written statement to Grassley and Pelosi saying that he is, in fact, capable of carrying out his duties. That would allow him to return to office immediately unless Pence and the cabinet send another statement to congressional leaders within four days reaffirming their concerns. Pence would take command again.
Such a declaration would require Congress to sit within 48 hours and vote within 21 days. If two-thirds of the members of both houses agreed that Trump is unable to continue as president, then he would be permanently removed from office and Pence would remain as incumbent president. If not enough vote is obtained, Trump would resume his functions.
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