Calls mount to oust Trump | Inquirer News

Calls mount to oust Trump

/ 05:00 AM January 09, 2021

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump faced the threat of a second impeachment Thursday, a day after his supporters breached the US Capitol in a stunning assault on American democracy as Congress was certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.

With 13 days left in Trump’s term, House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer both said Vice President Mike Pence should invoke the U.S. Constitution to remove him from office before then.


Absent that, they said Congress should move quickly to expel him through the impeachment process.


“We are in a very difficult place in our country as long as Donald Trump sits in the White House,” Pelosi said at a news conference.

Members of Trump’s Cabinet and allies of the Republican president have discussed invoking the 25th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution which allows them to remove a president who is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, a source familiar with the situation said.

Congress formally certified Democratic President-elect Joe Biden’s election victory early Thursday, after they were forced into hiding by hundreds of rioters who overwhelmed police and invaded the building. More than half of House Republicans and eight senators voted to challenge the election results.

During the proceedings, Pelosi pulled Pence off the House floor to talk.

Pelosi and Schumer called on Pence and Trump’s Cabinet to use the US Constitution to remove Trump for “his incitement of insurrection.”

“The President’s dangerous and seditious acts necessitate his immediate removal from office,” they said later in a statement Thursday evening.


The 25th Amendment allows a majority of the Cabinet to remove a president from power if he is unable to discharge the duties of the office.

BROKEN ICON Members of the US Capitol police inspect a damaged entrance a day after US President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the iconic building to protest President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the Nov. 3, 2020 presidential election. —AFP

Is there still time?

But a Pence adviser said the vice president, who would have to lead any such effort, was opposed to using the amendment to oust Trump from the White House.

If Pence fails to act, Pelosi signaled she would likely reconvene the House to initiate impeachment proceedings against Trump for his role in Wednesday’s violence.

House Judiciary Committee chair Jerry Nadler, whose committee would likely draft any articles of impeachment, voiced his support earlier Thursday.

It was not clear whether House Democrats would have enough time to initiate and complete impeachment proceedings, with less than two weeks remaining in Trump’s term.

If impeached in the House, Trump would theoretically face trial in the Republican-controlled Senate which is scheduled to be in recess until Jan. 19.

Aides to Mitch McConnell, the Republican Senate leader, did not comment on the statement by Pelosi and Schumer.

The Democratic-led House impeached Trump in December 2019 after he pressured the president of Ukraine to investigate Biden, but the Republican-controlled Senate acquitted him of charges of abusing his power and obstructing Congress.

Close to a concession

Only two other presidents in US history have been impeached, and none has been impeached twice.

As Democratic leaders demanded his ouster, Trump came closer than he ever has to a formal concession, acknowledging a new administration would be sworn in on Jan. 20 and vowing to ensure a “smooth transition” in a video released Thursday evening.

The president condemned Wednesday’s violence, saying rioters had defiled the seat of American democracy and must be held accountable.

Just a day earlier, Trump had told supporters: “We love you. You’re very special,” as he urged them to go home after they broke into the Capitol.

In his remarks Thursday, the president said: “We have just been through an intense election, and the emotions are high, but now tempers must be cooled and calm restored.

“We must get on with the business of America,” Trump added, adopting a conciliatory tone seldom seen from the mercurial president.

Stark reversal

The statement was a stark reversal for Trump, who has spent months insisting he prevailed in the Nov. 3 election, alleging widespread fraud despite no evidence. As recently as Thursday morning, when he issued a statement via an aide, Trump was still claiming the election had been stolen.

In the video, he defended his efforts to challenge the election in court, saying his goal was to “ensure the integrity of the vote.”

But his exhortation to thousands of supporters that they march to the Capitol to protest the election results Wednesday whipped up a mob that overran police officers and invaded the Capitol building, forcing members of Congress into hiding for their own safety.

The violence claimed four lives, including a woman among the demonstrators who was shot by police. Three others died from medical emergencies.

Several members of Trump’s administration, including Elaine Chao, the transportation secretary and McConnell’s wife, resigned as a symbolic gesture against the violence.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos also submitted her resignation, citing Trump’s rhetoric before the assault on the Capitol, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday night.

More resignations

Other Trump officials, including top Russia adviser Ryan Tully and envoy Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s former chief of staff, also quit. More departures were expected.

Biden blamed Trump for the attack but stopped short of calling for his ouster.

“He unleashed an all-out assault on the institutions of our democracy from the outset. And yesterday was but the culmination of that unrelenting attack,” Biden said at a news conference to announce his selection for US attorney general, federal appeals Judge Merrick Garland.

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After Trump posted several messages about the demonstrations on Wednesday, Facebook Inc said it would ban Trump posts until Biden’s Jan. 20 inauguration. Twitter Inc suspended Trump’s account for 12 hours.

The president has increasingly isolated himself in the White House, relying on a small group of diehard loyalists and lashing out at Pence and others who dare to cross him, four sources said.

TAGS: mayhem, United States, US Capitol

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