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Explained | What is 25th Amendment of US Constitution and can it be used to remove Donald Trump before his term ends

Democrats of the House Judiciary Committee sent a letter to Vice President Mike Pence urging him to act to remove Donald Trump.

January 07, 2021 / 04:15 PM IST

With just two weeks left before President-elect Joe Biden takes office, members of President Donald Trump's cabinet on January 6 discussed the possibility of removing Trump from office after his supporters stormed the Capitol.

Democratic and Republican lawmakers called for invoking the 25th Amendment. The discussions focused on the 25th amendment to the US Constitution, which allows for a president's removal by the vice president and cabinet if he is judged "unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office."

Read: Explained: Can Donald Trump be removed from office before his term ends on January 20?

Democrats of the House Judiciary Committee also sent a letter to Mike Pence urging him to act to remove Trump, saying he had stoked an act of insurrection and "sought to undermine our democracy."

"President Trump's willingness to incite violence and social unrest to overturn the election results by force clearly meet this standard," all Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee wrote.


Also read: Pro-Donald Trump mob storms US Capitol in bid to overturn election

In an angry, rambling speech outside the White House before the violence, Trump urged his supporters to march to the Capitol and demanded that Pence, who ceremonially led the session, intervene to reverse their loss.

Subsequently, thousands of angry supporters of Trump stormed the US Capitol and clashed with police, resulting in casualty and multiple injuries and interrupting a constitutional process to affirm Joe Biden's victory in the presidential election.

What is the 25th Amendment?

Under Section 4 of the 25th Amendment, the president can be removed from office if the vice president and a majority either of the cabinet secretaries or of Congress declare in writing that he is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.”

Upon delivery of this declaration to the Speaker of the House and the president pro tempore of the Senate, the vice president “shall immediately assume” the office of “Acting President.”

In simple terms, it means that if the president is unable to do his job, the vice president will take on his role.

Also read: PM Narendra Modi, other world leaders express shock over storming of US Capitol

Trump could subsequently declare that he is capable of resuming the job. If Pence and the majority of the Cabinet do not contest Trump's determination, Trump regains power.

However, if they dispute Trump's declaration, the issue would then be decided by Congress, but Pence would continue to act as president until then. A two-thirds majority of both chambers would be needed to keep Trump sidelined.

Read: US Capitol violence: Republican Senators demand removal of Donald Trump from White House
Moneycontrol News
first published: Jan 7, 2021 10:28 am
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