Speaker Nancy Pelosi is prepared to move forward with articles of impeachment against Donald Trump if Vice President Mike Pence does not replace him in the coming days through a process laid out in the Constitution’s 25th Amendment.
“I join the Senate Democratic leader in calling on the vice president to remove this president by immediately invoking the 25th amendment,” Ms Pelosi told reporters at the Capitol on Thursday, one day after the building was stormed and ransacked by pro-Trump rioters.
“If the Vice President and Cabinet do not act, the Congress may be prepared to move forward with impeachment. That is the overwhelming sentiment of my caucus,” she said.
Congress has certified President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory, but he doesn’t take office for another 13 days.
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Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer has also called for Mr Trump’s immediate removal from office, although he must wait for the House impeachment process to play out before his chamber can take any steps towards ousting Mr Trump.
He told reporters at a press conference in New York on Thursday that he would support Ms Pelosi initiating a fast-track impeachment.
“I don’t trust him one bit,” Mr Schumer said.
The US Constitution stipulates that the House can impeach a president with a simple majority vote. The president then goes on trial in the 100-member Senate, where a two-thirds majority is required for removal.
Ms Pelosi said that her cell phone has been ringing off the hook with calls for Mr Trump’s ouster after he delivered an inflammatory speech to a crowd of supporters in Washington on Wednesday that subsequently marched to the Capitol, breached police lines, and ran roughshod through the legislature.
Four people died during the mayhem, including one woman who was shot and killed by police outside the doors of the House chamber.
“My phone is exploding with ‘impeach, impeach, impeach,’” the speaker said. “The president must be held accountable.”
Ms Pelosi excoriated Mr Trump as “a very dangerous person who should not continue in office” after Wednesday’s events and his sluggish response to the national security crisis unfolding on Capitol Hill, mere blocks from the White House.
The speaker called out Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin, and other Cabinet members by name imploring them to depose an increasingly deranged and delusional Mr Trump through a provision in the 25th Amendment.
Mr Pence would then become the 46th president of the United States.
“This is urgent. This is an emergency of the highest magnitude,” Ms Pelosi said.
Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee have already begun circulating draft articles of impeachment against the president for inspiring the mob that overtook the Capitol complex on Wednesday, marking the first serious steps towards trying to remove Mr Trump in his final days in office.
Congressmen David Cicilline of Rhode Island, Jamie Raskin of Maryland, and Ted Lieu of California have drafted documents to impeach Mr Trump for “abuse of power,” the same nominal charge levied against him when the House impeached him for the first time in December 2019.
No president in US history has been impeached twice.Photo Credit: Getty