On Wednesday, Jan 6th, outgoing US President Trump’s supporters stormed the US Capitol Building. Lawmakers in the House are attempting have the President removed from office via impeachment or invoking the 25th Amendment. Yesterday, Jan 12th, Vice President Mike Pence said that he is opposed to invoking the 25th Amendment to remove President Donald Trump from office.
Later on Tuesday, Pence said the mechanism should not be used “as a means of punishment or usurpation” and should be reserved for cases of medical or mental incapacitation in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Pence was called by the House Speaker to secure the majority of the Cabinet. The Speaker also asked him to secure votes for Trump’s removal from office by declaring he is unfit to serve.
Pence wrote, “With just eight days left in the President’s term, you and the Democratic Caucus are demanding that the Cabinet and I invoke the 25th Amendment,”. He made reference to the process that would install the Vice President as Acting President for the remainder of the term, and deem Trump unfit to fulfil his duties.
Just hours before the House was to vote on a measure calling on Pence to initiate the 25th Amendment process, he said “I do not believe that such a course of action is in the best interest of our nation or consistent with our Constitution.“
3 Republicans vote to impeach Trump
Tuesday also saw at least three Republicans, including a member of the House leadership, saying they would vote to impeach Trump. This is for Trump’s urging his supporters to march on the Capitol and “fight”, which led to the deaths of five people.
Pence appealed to Pelosi and other members of Congress to avoid actions that “would further divide and inflame the passions of the moment” . He told her that an orderly transition is the main focus of the administration’s energy.
Pence is urging all concerned Senators to ”Work with us to lower the temperature and unite our country as we prepare to inaugurate President-elect Joe Biden as the next President of the United States.“
Trump and Pence
There were days of silence between Pence and Trump following the deadly riot. They only met again at the White House on Monday evening to have their first conversation. This was also after Trump’s earlier public rebuke of Pence. The President expected Pence to seek to block the congressional certification of Biden’s Electoral College win.
Trump put Pence under pressure to intervene in the certification process. The outgoing President has been unsuccessfully trying to overturn his Nov 3 election loss. There were even discussions between some of Trump’s supporters in the assault to assassinate Pence for betraying Trump.
The strains referred in Pence’s letter to Pelosi
Pence wrote “Last week, I did not yield to pressure to exert power beyond my constitutional authority to determine the outcome of the election, and I will not now yield to efforts in the House of Representatives to play political games at a time so serious in the life of our nation.“
The requirement of the 25th Amendment
Execution of the 25th Amendment can remove a sitting President from holding office. It requires a declaration by the Vice President together with the majority of the President’s Cabinet.
Pence’s failure to trigger that process would lead to a Trump impeachment vote on Wednesday according to Speaker Pelosi. If voted for, Trump will be the first American president to be impeached twice.
This time, the impeachment will only take a week compared to the previous three impeachments. The previous impeachments which included Presidents Andrew Johnson, Bill Clinton and Trump, took months before a final vote. This also included investigations and hearings.
The Republican-led Senate is not expected to hold a trial and vote to convict Trump before Biden’s inauguration. The Democrats however, feel the citizens of America will receive an important message if the House takes such action.
13th January 2021 22:30
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