Lawmakers openly discuss ousting Trump, possible impeachment

Donald Trump.   | Photo Credit: AP

Lawmakers of both parties have raised the prospect of ousting President Donald Trump from office, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that if he wasn't removed, the House may move forward with a second impeachment.

Though Mr. Trump has less than two weeks in office, lawmakers and even some in his administration began discussing the issue Wednesday afternoon as Mr. Trump first refused to forcefully condemn the violent assault on the U.S. Capitol by a mob of his supporters, and then appeared to excuse it.

Senior Trump administration officials raised the possibility of invoking Section 4 of the 25th Amendment — the forceful removal of Mr. Trump from power by his own Cabinet.

Ms. Pelosi told a news conference she is waiting for a decision from Vice President Mike Pence and other Cabinet officials. She challenged several of them by name, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.

“Do they stand by these actions?" Ms. Pelosi asked. "Are they ready to say that for the next 13 days this dangerous man can do further harm to our country?” Most Democrats, and many Republicans, put the blame squarely on Mr. Trump after hundreds of protesters bearing Trump flags and clothing broke into the Capitol on Wednesday and caused destruction and mass evacuations. The President had urged the supporters to protest as Congress was counting the electoral votes that confirmed Mr. Biden’s win.

Ms. Pelosi said “a threshold was crossed of such magnitude” that Mr. Trump should not allowed to make any decisions.

There did to be public support for the move, for now, among members of Mr. Trump’s Cabinet, especially after Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao resigned in protest Thursday following the Capitol attack. But officials across the government went so far as to study up on the procedures for declaring Mr. Trump “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.” According two people involved in the administration talks, staff-level discussions on the matter took place across multiple departments and even parts of the White House. No member of the Cabinet has publicly expressed support for the move — which would make Mr. Pence the acting President — though several were believed to be sympathetic to the notion, believing Mr. Trump is too volatile in his waning days before President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration on Jan. 20.

Under the 25th Amendment, Mr. Trump could dispute his Cabinet’s finding, but the Cabinet could quickly reaffirm its position, keeping Mr. Pence in power while the question fell to lawmakers.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer also called Thursday for the the Cabinet to remove him.

In a statement, Mr. Schumer said the attack on the Capitol “was an insurrection against the United States, incited by the President.” He said Mr. Trump “should not hold office one day longer.” Mr. Schumer said Mr. Pence and the Cabinet should invoke the 25th Amendment and immediately remove Mr. Trump from office. Otherwise, he said, it's up to Congress.

“If the Vice President and the Cabinet refuse to stand up, Congress should reconvene to impeach the president,” Mr. Schumer said.

As Ms. Pelosi suggested impeachment was a possibility, three Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee announced articles of impeachment. Reps. David Cicilline of Rhode Island, Jamie Raskin of Maryland and Ted Lieu of California wrote in the articles that Mr. Trump “willfully made statements that encouraged — and foreseeably resulted in — imminent lawless action at the Capitol.”

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Printable version | Mar 1, 2021 7:13:30 PM |

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