Removal or impeachment: Could it boomerang?

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Law enforcement has strengthened its force bracing for possible violence on inauguration day. The Capitol is now surrounded by a seven-foot fence. (Image: Twitter)

Notwithstanding the effort, it seems unlikely that a removal would be possible before Biden becomes President.

OUR BUREAU

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi put Vice President Mike Pence on the clock Sunday night. In a letter, Pelosi said late Sunday that the House will prepare impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump unless Vice President Mike Pence and the cabinet invokes the 25th Amendment to decide within 24 hours to remove him. This means impeachment proceedings could happen as early as Wednesday. 

The 25th Amendment states that the vice president becomes the president if the president dies, resigns, or is removed, from the office on account of being incapable. 

There appears to be sufficient strength of “ayes” in the House to support Pelosi’s impeachment motion. In the Senate, however, Speaker Mitch McConnell has not shown the same enthusiasm to impeach the President. Two senators, Pat Toomey and Lisa Murkowski, are seeking Trump’s resignation, but Toomey is not in favor of an impeachment. House Republican Nancy Mace told CNN that an impeachment or invocation of the 25th Amendment will mean “further dividing the country, and pouring gasoline on the fire.” 

The impeachment article needs a simple majority in the House of Representatives, but needs a two-thirds majority in the Senate. Moreover, the matter may not reach the Senate before the 19th, the day before Biden takes oath and assumes office.

In that case, Pelosi has the option to hold on to the impeachment trial until the Democrats are in control of the Senate after the President leaves office on the 20th of this month. Trump can still face those proceedings after he has remitted office.

Pelosi in a letter to House Democrats stated that the Democratic leaders on Monday will request unanimous consent in the House for a resolution urging Vice President Mike Pence to convene the cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment to the Constitution “to declare the President incapable of executing the duties of his office.”  The resolution will go to the floor for a roll call vote on Tuesday if it is objected by any Republicans or Democrats. After its expected passage, Pence will be provided to Pence. “Next, we will proceed with bringing impeachment legislation to the floor,” she said.

Pelosi said: “In protecting our Constitution and our Democracy, we will act with urgency, because this President represents an imminent threat to both […] As the days go by, the horror of the ongoing assault on our democracy perpetrated by this President is intensified and so is the immediate need for action.”

The  Democratic-controlled House impeached Trump once before in December 2019, for pressuring the leaders of Ukraine to dig up political dirt on Joe Biden. The Republican-majority Senate acquitted him. If the House votes again for impeachment, Trump will hold the dubious distinction of being the first President ever to be impeached twice by the House.

President-elect Joe Biden is due to be sworn in on January 20.

Trump’s supporters are planning a rally at Twitter’s headquarters in San Francisco on Monday.

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