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Donald Trump boasts he’s at ‘zero danger’ of removing by the twenty fifth Modification


President Donald Trump on Tuesday claimed the 25th amendment will not be used to remove him from office but warned his successor Joe Biden it could be used against him.

‘Free speech is under assault like never before. The 25th Amendment is of zero risk to me, but will come back to haunt Joe Biden and the Biden Administration. As the expression goes, be careful what you wish for,’ Trump said.

The president made his remarks while in Texas to visit a newly-completed section of his border wall, the biggest promise of 2016 presidential campaign. 

In what is likely the final trip of his presidency, Trump signed a plaque hanging at the completed section in Alamo, Texas, cementing the physical legacy of his time in the White House.

‘We can’t let the next administration even think of taking it down,’ he said of his wall. 

In Alamo, Texas, a city in the Rio Grande Valley near the U.S.-Mexican border – the president visited the 450th mile of the border wall his administration is building. The total is likely to hit 475 miles by January 20th, the day Biden takes the oath of office. Most of the wall built replaces small barriers that had already existed. 

In his remarks, Trump also briefly addressed the riots on Capitol Hill last week. He has not taken public responsibility for his roll in the insurrection. Democrats and some Republicans say he incited the unruly mob with his false rhetoric that the election was stolen from him.

Trump said respect for law enforcement is ‘the foundation of the MAGA agenda’ – referring to his ‘Make America Great Again’ slogan. Two Capitol Hill police officers denied in the aftermath of the attack. 

‘Now is the time for our nation to heal. And it’s time for peace and for calm, respect for law enforcement and the great people within law enforcement is the foundation of the MAGA agenda. We’re a nation of law and a nation of order,’ Trump declared in his 20 minute speech. 

President Donald Trump claimed the 25th amendment will not be used to remove him from office but he warned it could be used against his successor Joe Biden

President Trump signed a plaque on his border wall during his trip to Alamo, Texas

President Trump signed a plaque on his border wall during his trip to Alamo, Texas

President Trump visited Alamo, Texas, on the Rio Grande river and  the site of the 450th mile of wall his administration has built

President Trump visited Alamo, Texas, on the Rio Grande river and  the site of the 450th mile of wall his administration has built

President Trump was joined by border officials and Senator Lindsey Graham in his inspection

President Trump was joined by border officials and Senator Lindsey Graham in his inspection

The border wall was Trump's biggest promise of his 2016 presidential campaign

The border wall was Trump’s biggest promise of his 2016 presidential campaign

In what is likely the final trip of his presidency, Trump examined the physical legacy of his time in the White House

In what is likely the final trip of his presidency, Trump examined the physical legacy of his time in the White House

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina walks with President Trump during the visit to the U.S.-Mexico border

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina walks with President Trump during the visit to the U.S.-Mexico border

Three Cabinet officials and several administration officials quit in the aftermath of the riots. Several remaining aides have privately expressed disgust with how long it took Trump to criticize the mob and to call for the nation to heal. 

Before President Trump left for his Texas trip, he denied all responsibility for last week’s riot, saying his fiery speech to his supporters before they marched on the Capitol was ‘totally appropriate.’

WHO’S QUIT TRUMP ADMINISTRATION SINCE MAGA MOBBED CAPITOL HILL?

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos 

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao 

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf 

Hope Hicks – who said it was not related to riots 

Melania Trump’s Chief of Staff Stephanie Grisham

White House Social Secretary Rickie Niceta

Deputy National Security Advisor Matt Pottinger 

Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Intelligence and Security John Costello 

Special Envoy for Northern Ireland and former OMB Director and White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney 

The National Security Council’s Senior Director for Europe and Russia Ryan Tully  

Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Matthews 

Entire non-career staff of the Federal Aviation Administration 

In his first public remarks since Wednesday’s MAGA storming of the Capitol, the president slammed Democrats, accusing them of creating ‘tremendous danger’ with their attempt to remove him from office but said repeatedly he wanted ‘no violence.’

The president defended his speech at a rally on ellipse, where he encouraged his thousands of supporters to ‘march’ on the Capitol. 

They did so, leaving five dead and a path of destruction in their wake in the form of busted windows, broken furniture and destroyed office space. Dozens have now been rounded up by police and FBI.

‘If you read my speech – and many people have done it and I’ve seen it both in the papers and in the media, on television, it is been analyzed – and people thought that what I said was totally appropriate,’ he said as he boarded Air Force One to head for Alamo, Texas, on the Mexican border, to inspect his wall.

‘They’ve analyzed my speech and my words and my final paragraph, my final sentence and everybody to a tee thought it was totally appropriate,’ he continued. He offered no indication of who ‘they’ are.

Trump also denounced the Democrats’ efforts to remove him from office, which has been joined by some Republicans, to remove him from office – and called it a ‘danger,’ not his supporters’ actions.

But, he said he wanted no violence from his supporters. Trump reportedly had initially enjoyed the sight of his supporters on Capitol Hill last week, fighting for him to illegally take a second term in the White House. He changed his tune and called on them to stand down when he warned he could be held legally responsible for their actions.

‘We want no violence, never violence. We want absolutely no violence,’ he said repeatedly Tuesday before he left for Texas to tout the completion of a section of his border wall.

‘And on the impeachment, it’s really a continuation of the greatest witch hunt in the history of politics. It’s ridiculous. It’s absolutely ridiculous. This impeachment is causing tremendous anger,’ he said.

He denounced Democratic leaders but made no mention of the Republicans who have called on him to leave office.

‘It’s really a terrible thing that they’re doing for Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer to continue on this path. I think it’s causing tremendous danger to our country, and it’s causing tremendous anger, I want no violence,’ he said.

Not resigning: Donald Trump spoke in public for the first time since the MAGA riots, taking no responsibility and ignoring a question about whether he would resign

'I want no violence.' Trump claimed he was not fomenting riots - but then said his impeachment, which the House votes on Wednesday, is 'causing tremendous anger'

‘I want no violence.’ Trump claimed he was not fomenting riots – but then said his impeachment, which the House votes on Wednesday, is ‘causing tremendous anger’

Farewell: Trump's trip to Texas is the only scheduled time away from the White House between now and leaving office. He is widely expected to fly to Florida on January 19, the day before Joe Biden is sworn in

Farewell: Trump’s trip to Texas is the only scheduled time away from the White House between now and leaving office. He is widely expected to fly to Florida on January 19, the day before Joe Biden is sworn in 

Off to Alamo (not that one): Trump boarded Marine One to head for the Mexican border in Texas the town of Alamo, which is named for The Alamo but about 200 miles from the site of the original

Off to Alamo (not that one): Trump boarded Marine One to head for the Mexican border in Texas the town of Alamo, which is named for The Alamo but about 200 miles from the site of the original

Out of the White House: Trump's flight to Air Force One will be one of his last trips from the South Lawn

Out of the White House: Trump’s flight to Air Force One will be one of his last trips from the South Lawn

Speaker Nancy Pelosi arrives in the Capitol Tuesday ahead of a vote in the House calling on Vice President Mike Pence to use the 25th amendment to remove President Trump from office

Speaker Nancy Pelosi arrives in the Capitol Tuesday ahead of a vote in the House calling on Vice President Mike Pence to use the 25th amendment to remove President Trump from office

Later Tuesday, the House will vote on legislation calling on Vice President Mike Pence to start the process to remove Trump via the 25th amendment. 

Speaker Nancy Pelosi set an ultimatum Monday that if Trump does not resign or Pence does not invoke the 25th Amendment, the House will move forward with impeaching the president for a second time.

The House will hold a vote Tuesday evening on a non-binding demand that Pence invoke the 25th Amendment. 

Pence’s advisers say he is opposed to this measure, indicating he will likely not move forward with meeting pressures from congressional Democrats in Trump’s final eight days.

Republicans who have publicly broken with Trump since Wednesday’s Capitol riots 

 Sen. Pat Toomey (Pa.)

Said Trump ‘committed impeachable offenses.’

Sen. Mitt Romney (Utah)

Said the president had caused ‘this insurrection.’

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska)

Called on Trump to resign. ‘ I want him out.’

Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.)

Said Trump ’caused’ the riot and called his response ‘completely inadequate’

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (Ill.)

Called for Trump to resign and called 25th Amendment the ‘next best thing.’ Said he would ‘vote the right way’ on impeachment, without endorsing the tactic.

Rep. Peter Meijer (Mich.)

Said fellow Republicans told ‘lied’ and ‘deceived’ and called what happened an ‘act of domestic terrorism’

 

The House could vote as early as Wednesday at 9 a.m. on articles of impeachment. Republicans are not doing a ‘whip count’ – meaning leadership will not be arm twisting their members to support Trump. Instead top GOP officials said lawmakers should vote their conscious.  

Pelosi told ’60 Minutes’ in an interview that aired Sunday that she prefers the 25th Amendment because that forces immediate removal, while impeachment wouldn’t be resolved before Trump’s term is up.

She fears Trump could use his final days to do more damage – like pardoning the mob who stormed the Capitol. 

The Senate is in recess, and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said they would not reconvene earlier than January 19 to receive articles from the House. 

This means even if the lower chamber did elevate impeachment, action wouldn’t be taken on the measure until the day before Joe Biden’s inauguration at the earliest. 

Trump’s refusal to accept responsibility for Wednesday is likely to only anger further Democrats, but it is the Republican House and Senate caucus’ reactions which will set his fate. 

Some Republicans have already called for him to go but none has so far publicly backed impeachment.

Lindsey Graham, who claimed he was ‘done’ with the president last week, appeared to have had a dramatic change of heart and was traveling with him on Air Force One.

But others have privately said they need to see Trump take some responsibility, meaning his refusal could drive them into the Democrats’ camp on impeachment.

Republicans are emerging from Trump’s presidency deeply divided and the impeachment vote could scar the party even more.

Trump’s allies, including his son Donald Trump Jr., are threatening to primary any Republican who does not support the president.

Meanwhile, a group of former administration officials and anti-Trump Republicans – calling themselves the the Republican Accountability Project – said they would make a $50 million commitment to support GOP lawmakers who voted for Trump’s impeachment, The New York Times reported.

Trump also road-tested a defense for his impeachment in his remarks on Tuesday.

At the end of Trump’s remarks, he appeared to reference guidance he has received from attorneys and aides about the content of his Wednesday speech – which form the basis for the impeachment article charging him with ‘incitement of insurrection.’

His comment follows reports that White House counsel Pat Cipollone had warned Trump that he faces potential legal exposure for the remarks he made to the crowd that went on to storm the Capitol.

Although Trump did not specifically tell anyone to break a window or trespass, he did tell them to ‘fight,’ that ‘when you catch somebody in a fraud, you are allowed to go by very different rules,’ that ‘we’re going to have to fight much harder,’ and that ‘if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.’

He also spoke as if Vice President Pence could make a difference in the outcome. ‘If Mike Pence does the right thing, we win the election,’ Trump said – meaning overturning the Electoral College results, which Pence said he did not have the power to do.

The final substantive paragraph, which he defended, told his supporters that ‘we’ would march to the Capitol to ‘take back our country.’

‘So we are going to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue – I love Pennsylvania Avenue – and we are going to the Capitol.,’ he said.

‘And we are going to try and give — the Democrats are hopeless, they are never voting for anything, not even one vote — but we are going to try to give our Republicans — the weak ones because the strong ones don’t need any of our help — going to try and give them the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country,’ Trump said. ‘So let’s walk down Pennsylvania Avenue.’

He in fact returned to the White House.  

Trump’s initial response to the MAGA riot was to release a video message where he told his followers he loved them.

‘We love you, you’re very special,’ he said in the short video posted to his Twitter account, which was still active at the time.

And he reiterated his original message, which had helped incite the mob, that the election had been stolen.

‘I know your pain, I know you’re hurt. We had an election that was stolen from us. It was a landslide election and everyone knows it. Especially the other side. But you have to go home now. We have to have peace,’ he said.

His message appeared to have no effect on the mob, who was heard yelling for Vice President Pence and Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

The day after the riots, Trump released a second video message where he acknowledged a ‘new administration’ was coming into the White House but he didn’t congratulate President-elect Joe Biden nor even mention his name. He also denounced the mob.

‘Those who violently besieged our Capitol, are the opposite of everything this administration stands for. The core value of our administration is the idea that all citizens have the right to live and safety, peace and freedom. Those who are working in this building are working to ensure an orderly transition of power. Now it is time for America to unites to come together to reject the violence that we have seen, we are one American people, full, under God,’ he said.

What Trump told supporters before they ransacked the Capitol in ‘totally appropriate’ speech

We’re going to have to fight much harder

‘Republicans are constantly fighting like a boxer with his hands tied behind his back. It’s like a boxer. And we want to be so nice. We want to be so respectful of everybody, including bad people. And we’re going to have to fight much harder.’

 

We’re going to walk down to the Capitol 

‘We’re going to walk down to the Capitol, and we’re going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women, and we’re probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them, because you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength, and you have to be strong.

 

‘Get tougher’ / You are allowed to go by very different rules  

‘The Republicans have to get tougher. You’re not going to have a Republican Party if you don’t get tougher. They want to play so straight. They want to play so serious. “The United States, the Constitution doesn’t allow me to send them back to the states.” Well, I would say yes, it does, because the Constitution says you have to protect our country, and you have to protect our Constitution, and you can’t vote on fraud, and fraud breaks up everything, doesn’t it? When you catch somebody in a fraud, you are allowed to go by very different rules. So I hope Mike has the courage to do what he has to do, and I hope he doesn’t listen to the RINOs and the stupid people that he’s listening toWhen you catch somebody in a fraud, you are allowed to go by very different rules. So I hope Mike has the courage to do what he has to do, and I hope he doesn’t listen to the RINOs and the stupid people that he’s listening to.’

 

Takes ‘more courage not to step up’ 

‘I also want to thank our 13 most courageous members of the U.S. Senate …  I actually think, though, it takes, again, more courage not to step up, and I think a lot of those people are going to find that out. And you better start looking at your leadership, because your leadership has led you down the tubes.’

 

Never concede 

‘We will never give up. We will never concede. It doesn’t happen. You don’t concede when there’s theft involved. Our country has had enough.’

 

On ‘fake news’ and ‘Big tech’

‘They rigged an election, they rigged it like they have never rigged an election before.’

‘All of us here today do not want to see our election victory stolen by bold and radical left Democrats, which is what they are doing, and stolen by the fake news media. That is what they have done and what they are doing. We will never give up. We will never concede. It doesn’t happen. You don’t concede when there’s theft involved.’

 

‘We will not take it anymore’

‘Our country has had enough. We will not take it anymore, and that is what this is all about.’ And to use a favorite term that all of you people really came up with, we will stop the steal.’

Denied Biden’s vote count

‘He had 80 million computer votes. It’s a disgrace. There’s never been anything like that. You can take Third World countries, just take a look, take Third World countries, their elections are more honest than what we have been going through in this country. It’s a disgrace. It’s a disgrace. Even when you look at last night, they were all running around like chickens with their heads cut off with boxes, and nobody knows what the hell is going on. There’s never been anything like this. We will not let them silence your voices. We’re not going to let it happen.’

[Note: Biden got more than 81 million votes; Trump rounded up his own total to 75 million.]

 

Call for military and law enforcement to join

‘And I would love to have, if those tens of thousands of people would be allowed, the military, the Secret Service and we want to thank you — and the police and law enforcement — great, you’re doing a great job. But I would love it if they could be allowed to come up with us. Is that possible? Can you just let them, please?’

 

Pressure on Mike Pence: Says it takes ‘courage’ to do nothing

‘I hope Mike is going to do the right thing. I hope so. I hope so because if Mike Pence does the right thing, we win the election … All Vice President Pence has to do is send it back to the states to re-certify, and we become president, and you are the happiest people.’

‘And I actually, I just spoke to Mike. I said, Mike, that doesn’t take courage, what takes courage is to do nothing. That takes courage, and then we are stuck with a president who lost the election by a lot, and we have to live with that for four more years. We’re just not going to let that happen.’

 

Won’t stand for Biden win

‘We want to go back, and we want to get this right, because we’re going to have somebody in there that should not be in there, and our country will be destroyed. And we’re not going to stand for that.’

 

‘You’re not the people that tore down our nation’

‘If this happened to the Democrats, there’d be hell all over the country going on. There’d be hell all over the country.

But just remember this, you’re stronger, you’re smarter. You’ve got more going than anybody, and

they try and demean everybody having to do with us, and you’re the real people. You’re the people that built this nation. You’re not the people that tore down our nation.’

 

March peacefully … we will see whether Republicans stand strong

‘I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.

Today, we will see whether Republicans stand strong for the integrity of our elections. But whether or not they stand strong for our country — our country, our country has been under siege for a long time. Far longer than this four-year period’

 

‘Ashamed … throughout eternity’ 

‘Today, we see a very important event, though, because right over there, right there, we see the event that’s going to take place, and I’m going to be watching because history is going to be made. We’re going to see whether or not we have great and courageous leaders or whether or not we have leaders that should be ashamed of themselves throughout history, throughout eternity. They’ll be ashamed. And you know what? If they do the wrong thing, we should never, ever forget that they did. Never forget.’

 

Calls Republicans who voted not to count certified votes ‘warriors’

‘I want to thank the more than 140 members of the House. Those are warriors.15

They’re over there working like you’ve never seen before, studying, talking, actually going all the way back studying the roots of the Constitution because they know we have the right to send a bad vote that was illegally gotten.’

 

Biden will be ‘illegitimate’

‘But think of this: If you don’t do that, that means you will have a president of the United States for four years with his wonderful son, you will have a president who lost all of these states, or you will have a president, to put it another way, who was voted on by a bunch of stupid people who lost all of these states. You will have an illegitimate president. That is what you will have, and we can’t let that happen.’

 

Call to ‘do something’ about radical left

‘The radical left knows exactly what they were doing. They are ruthless, and it’s time that somebody did something about it.

And Mike Pence, I hope you’re going to stand up for the good of our Constitution and for the good of our country. (APPLAUSE) And if you’re not, I’m going to be very disappointed in you. I will tell you right now. I’m not hearing good stories.’

 

Election was ‘stolen’

‘Make no mistake, this election was stolen from you, from me, and from the country, and not a single swing state has conducted a comprehensive audit to remove the illegal ballots.

This should absolutely occur in every single contested state before the election is certified.’

 

Alleges ‘criminal enterprise’

‘So, when you hear — when you hear, “While there is no evidence to prove any wrongdoing,” this is the most fraudulent thing anybody’s — this is a criminal enterprise. This is a criminal enterprise.’

 

Fight like hell
 

‘And again, most people would stand there at 9 o’clock in the evening and say, “I want to thank you very much,” and they go off to some other life.

But I said something is wrong here, something is really wrong, can’t have happened, and we fight. We fight like hell, and if you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore.’

 

It is not known which group of lawyers are currently advising Trump on his role before and during the riots. 

Lawyer Rudy Giuliani spoke before Trump at the rally, telling participants to engage in ‘trial by combat.’ Lawyer Cleta Mitchell was on the line during Trump’s call to ask a Georgia election official to ‘find’ 11,780 votes, but she resigned from her firm in the aftermath.

Trump broke his public silence after revealing his false belief that ‘ANTIFA people’ were behind Wednesday’s riot in a private call to the most senior Republican in the House – who claimed that the president does accept some blame for the unrest that killed five people.

And he also publicly contradicted Kevin McCarthy, the fiercely loyal House Minority Leader, who told House Republicans on Monday that Trump bears some blame for last week’s deadly Capitol riots and has accepted some responsibility, Politico reported, citing four Republican sources on a private call. 

That left McCarthy publicly embarrassed, at a time when his caucus is splitting over what to do about Trump and donors are deserting.

Trump’s abdication of responsibility came amid mounting fears that the violence is not over.

On Monday evening lawmakers were briefed by law enforcement that there were three active plots, including one involving 4,000 ‘armed patriots’ planning to surround Congress. They had been issued with ‘rules of engagement,’ Democratic Rep. Conor Lamb of Pennsylvania told CNN – meaning when they would shoot people.

Trump on Monday declared a state of emergency in D.C. amid ratcheting tensions over violent plots which could rock Capitol Hill ahead of Biden’s inauguration.

The declaration allows the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate with local authorities as Democrats had been demanding.

Last week’s chaos resulted in the deaths of four rioters and one Capitol Police officer from his wounds and the suicide of another; dozens of injuries; and extensive damage throughout the ransacked building.  

WHAT DOES THE 25TH AMENDMENT SAY? CAN TRUMP’S CABINET REALLY TOPPLE HIM?

The 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution deals with presidential authority in the event of death or removal from office, and was ratified in 1967, in the wake of John F Kennedy’s assassination.

What does the 25th Amendment say?

It is in four sections, all dealing with the president leaving office during his or her elected term. 

The first section states that the vice president takes over the Oval Office if the president dies or resigns – or is removed – something which the original Constitution did not clearly state.

Presidents of course can be removed by impeachment, a feature of the constitution from the start. They can also be removed through the 25th Amendment – of which more below.

Section II states that if the vice president dies, or resigns – or is fired – both the House and Senate have to confirm a new vice president. Until 1967, presidents could change vice presidents mid-term on their own if they got the vice president to agree to resign – not something that actually happened, but which was possible in principle.

Section III makes clear that a president can temporarily delegate his powers to the vice president, and later reclaim them when he – or she – is capable of serving. This is most often invoked if a president is under the influence of surgical anesthetic for a short period of time. 

Section IV is the amendment’s most controversial part: it describes how the president can be removed from office if he is incapacitated and does not leave on his own.

The vice president and ‘a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide’ must write to both the president pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House, saying that ‘the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.’

The term principal officers of the executive departments would normally mean the cabinet secretaries.

So at least eight of the president’s 15 most senior Cabinet members together with the vice president must agree that a president should be removed before any plan can move forward.

Notifying the House Speaker and the Senate president pro tempore is the act that immediately elevates the vice president to an ‘acting president’ role.

The deposed president can contest the claim, giving the leaders of the bloodless coup four days to re-assert their claims to the House and Senate. 

Congress then has two days to convene – unless it is already in session – and another 21 days to vote on whether the president is incapable of serving. A two-thirds majority in both houses is required to make that determination.

As soon as there is a vote with a two-thirds majority, the president loses his powers and is removed, and the vice president stops acting and is sworn in as president.

But if 21 days of debate and votes ends without a two-thirds majority, the president gets back his powers.

What could happen to trigger the 25th Amendment?

Vice President Mike Pence and eight of the 15 ‘principal’ Cabinet members would have to agree to notify Congress that President Donald Trump was incapable of running the country.

That group is made up of the Secretary of State, Treasury Secretary, Secretary of Defense, Attorney General, Interior Secretary, Agriculture Secretary, Commerce Secretary, Labor Secretary, Health and Human Services Secretary, Transportation Secretary, Energy Secretary , Education Secretary, Veterans Affairs Secretary and Homeland Security Secretary.

Their formal notification would go to the House Speaker and, in the senate, to the ‘president pro tempore’, the Senate’s most senior member. As soon as the letter is sent, Pence would become ‘acting president.’

Alternatively, Congress could set up its own mechanism to decide if he is fit for office – maybe a commission, or a joint committee. Pence would still have to agree with its conclusion and then write formally to the Speaker and president pro tempore.

Or another possibility is that the pool of ‘principal officers’ is considered to be bigger than the 15 and a majority of that group call Trump incapable.

What if Trump does not agree?

If Trump claims he is capable of holding office, he would write to the House Speaker and the president pro tempore of the Senate within four days, setting up three weeks of intense debate in both houses of Congress.

Trump would be removed from office if both two-thirds majorities in both the House and Senate agreed with Pence and his cabal. 

If either of both chambers fell short of that mark, Trump would retain his powers and likely embark on a wholesale housecleaning, firing Pence and replacing disloyal Cabinet members.

Are there any loopholes?

The 25th Amendment allows Congress to appoint its own panel to evaluate the president instead of relying on the Cabinet – the men and women who work most closely with Trump – to decide on  a course of action.

It specifies that some ‘other body as Congress may by law provide’ could play that role, but Pence would still need to agree with any finding that the president is incapable of discharging his duties.

That commission could hypothetically include anyone from presidential historians to psychiatrists, entrusted to assess the president’s fitness for office. 

Another loophole is that it does not spell out that the Cabinet is needed to agree, but says that the ‘principal officers’ of the departments are needed. That term is undefined in the constitution. In some departments legislation appears to name not just the secretary but deputies and even undersecretaries as ‘principal officers’, so many more people could be called in to the assessment of Trump’s fitness. 

But Trump’s cabinet has a swathe of ‘acting’ cabinet officer – and it is unclear if they could therefore take part in removing him. 

Could Trump fire Pence if he rebelled?

No. The vice president can resign or be impeached and removed – but he does not serve at the pleasure of the president.  

Is there any precedent for this?

No.  Only Section III, the voluntary surrender of presidential powers, has ever been used – and only very briefly.

In December 1978, President Jimmy Carter thought about invoking Section III when he was contemplating a surgical procedure to remove hemorrhoids. 

Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush both voluntarily relinquished their powers while undergoing procedures under anesthetic. 

Section IV has also never been invoked, although there have been claims that Ronald Reagan’s chief of staff Donald Regan told his successor, Howard Baker,  in 1987 that he should be prepared to invoke it because Reagan was inattentive and inept.

The PBS documentary ‘American Experience’ recounts how Baker and his team watched Reagan closely for signs of incapacity during their first meeting and decided he was in perfect command of himself.  



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