Vice President Mike Pence is being urged to invoke the never-before-used 25th Amendment to remove Donald Trump from office (Picture: AFP/Getty)
Speaker Nancy Pelosi gave the Vice President 24 hours to strip Trump of his presidential authority before kicking off the unprecedented legislative action.
Many of her fellow Democrats and a handful of Republicans say Trump should not be trusted to serve out his term, which ends on January 20, after he urged thousands of his supporters to march on the Capitol last week.
Lawmakers fled from the Congress building as they were certifying Joe Biden’s election victory, in a harrowing assault on the centre of American democracy that left five dead.
Dozens of people who attacked police officers, stole computers and smashed windows at the Capitol have been arrested for their role in the violence, and officials have opened 25 domestic terrorism investigations.
Trump acknowledged that a new administration would take office on January 20 in a video statement after the attack but has not appeared in public. Twitter and Facebook have suspended his accounts, citing the risk of him inciting violence.
‘In protecting our Constitution and our Democracy, we will act with urgency, because this President represents an imminent threat to both,’ Pelosi wrote to fellow House Democrats on Sunday.
When the House convenes at 11 am (4pm GMT) on Monday, lawmakers will bring up a resolution asking Pence to invoke the never-before-used 25th Amendment of the US Constitution, which allows the vice president and the Cabinet to remove a president deemed unfit to do the job.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (top right) has given Vice President Mike Pence (top left) 24 hours to respond to their fresh plans to impeach Donald Trump (Picture: Reuters)
Pence was in the Capitol along with his family when Trump’s supporters attacked, and he and Trump are currently not on speaking terms.
But Republicans have shown little interest in invoking the 25th Amendment.
If Pence does not act, Pelosi said the House could vote to impeach Trump on a single charge of insurrection. That vote could come by the end of the week.
House Democrats impeached Trump in December 2019 for pressuring Ukraine to investigate Biden, but the Republican-controlled Senate voted not to convict him.
The latest effort to force Trump out also faces long odds of success without bipartisan support. Only four Republican lawmakers have so far said publicly that Trump should not serve out the remaining nine days of his term.
The lawmakers who drafted the impeachment charge say they have locked in the support of at least 200 of the chamber’s 222 Democrats, indicating strong odds of passage. Biden has so far not weighed in on impeachment, saying it is a matter for Congress.
Even if the House impeaches Trump for a second time, the Senate would not take up the charges until January 19 at the earliest, Trump’s last full day in office.
An impeachment trial would tie up the Senate during Biden’s first weeks in office, preventing the new president from installing Cabinet secretaries and acting on priorities like coronavirus relief.
Representative Jim Clyburn, the No. 3 House Democrat, suggested his chamber could avoid that problem by waiting several months to send the impeachment charge over to the Senate.
Trump would be long gone by then, but a conviction would bar him from running for president again in 2024.
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