House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called for Vice President Mike Pence to immediately invoke the 25th Amendment on Thursday, threatening to move forward with impeachment efforts if the president isn’t removed for inciting the deadly Capitol riot.
“In calling for this seditious act, the president has committed an unspeakable assault on our nation and our people,” Pelosi said. “If the vice president and Cabinet do not act, the Congress may be prepared to move forward with impeachment.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) previously said Trump should be “immediately” removed from office, either by the 25th Amendment or articles of impeachment.
Members of the House Judiciary Committee had already circulated articles of impeachment on Thursday, alleging that Trump incited violence and would “remain a threat to national security, democracy and the Constitution” if allowed to remain in office for two more weeks.
Reps. David Cicilline (D-RI), Ted Lieu (D-CA), and Jamie Raskin (D-MD) authored the articles, two individuals familiar with the matter told The Daily Beast.
Cicilline and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) later tweeted the articles. “[S]o proud of everyone co-leading this effort with us,” Omar wrote. “We need to move quickly to remove this President from office.”
The articles allege Trump committed high crimes and misdemeanors by “willfully inciting violence” against the government. As Trump spoke to protesters on Wednesday, while Congress met to certify the Electoral College votes for President-elect Joe Biden, he reiterated false claims of winning the election and made statements that “encouraged—and foreseeably resulted in—imminent lawless action at the Capitol,” the articles say.
His conduct was “consistent with prior efforts to subvert and obstruct the certification” of the election results, including his menacing phone call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, they continue.
Several House Judiciary members signed a letter to Pence on Wednesday calling for the invocation of the 25th Amendment—an idea that has reportedly been floated among Cabinet members, too. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) became the first Republican to publicly support the idea on Thursday.
But, with the resignation of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, it’s unclear how many Cabinet members would support the move.
Under the amendment, Pence and a majority of the Cabinet would need to vote to remove Trump due to an inability to “discharge the powers and duties of his office.”
Pelosi had no details on Thursday about a possible timeline or about any efforts already underway, saying she hadn’t slept since the Electoral College certification ended around 4 a.m. ET.
In his statement, Schumer said that invoking the 25th Amendment would be the “quickest and most effective way—it can be done today—to remove this president from office.” If Trump is impeached, it might largely prove symbolic given there almost certainly wouldn’t be enough time to hold a Senate trial.
Trump was impeached by the House just over a year ago for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress over allegations he withheld military aid and a White House invitation to Ukrainian President Vlodomyr Zelensky to pressure the country to investigate Biden. House members alleged Trump then obstructed its inquiry into the matter by telling his aides to ignore subpoenas for documents and testimony.
The Republican-controlled Senate acquitted Trump last February.
With additional reporting by Scott Bixby