Status: 07.01.2021 01:07 p.m.

The Democrats have tried unsuccessfully to remove Trump from office – but now his own party is apparently also thinking about it. But is something like this even possible shortly before the change in power? An overview.

Militant supporters of Trump are storming the Capitol – incited by the US President himself. This is too much even for many of his most loyal followers. Within the government, but also among the Rebublicans in the Senate, there are increasing voices that want to depose Trump immediately – two weeks before his departure from office.

According to media reports, high-ranking members of the outgoing US government have already discussed a possible dismissal by his own cabinet. Future President Joe Biden’s Democrats are also calling for such a move. Why is it discussed and whether it would even be possible – here is an overview:

Why are people talking about a dismissal?

Critics blame Trump for the violent storming of the Capitol. The outgoing president still does not acknowledge his November 3rd defeat. Since election night, he has repeatedly called for resistance and raised doubts about the legitimacy of the vote. Yesterday, the day on which the election victory of his rival Joe Biden in the US Congress was to be confirmed, he called on his supporters in a speech to march on Congress. It is now feared that Trump could cause even more mischief in his last days in office. His successor Joe Biden is due to be sworn in on January 20th.

How could Trump be deposed?

The president could be removed from his own cabinet led by Vice President Mike Pence. This is recorded in the 25th Amendment to the US Constitution. It says that dismissal is possible if “the president is unable to exercise the powers and duties of his office”. Such a step is provided in the event of serious illness or mental problems of the President. For many observers, since Trump’s defeat in the election, the impression of a loss of reality for the president has been forced upon them. The news channel CNN quoted top Republican politicians as saying Trump was “out of control” after the storming of Congress.

Would it still be possible to withdraw after the 25th Amendment?

Pence and a majority in the cabinet would have to tell Congress that Trump is incapacitated – it would be a historic first in the US. The Vice President would then immediately take over the office of the President, but Trump could oppose this with a counter-declaration. Ultimately, the Congress would have to decide with a two-thirds majority in the Senate and House of Representatives; it would have 21 days to do so. The procedure could therefore not be completed before Trump’s term in office ends on January 20 anyway.

Is a new impeachment possible?

Even a new parliamentary impeachment procedure against the president – the so-called impeachment – is now being discussed. Such a procedure against Trump was initiated at the end of 2019 because of the Ukraine affair, but ultimately failed in the Senate, which was then conservatively dominated. According to the US Constitution, a president can be removed from office for “treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors”. A simple majority in the House of Representatives is sufficient to bring charges against Trump. For an actual removal from office, however, a two-thirds majority in the Senate would be necessary. However, a new impeachment is currently highly unlikely.

Deutschlandfunk reported on this topic on January 7, 2021 at 12:18 p.m.


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