Donald Trump has already been voted out of office, but his term of office could now come to an abrupt end. Allegedly, his own cabinet is considering removing him from power after his supporters storm the Capitol.
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High-ranking members of the outgoing US administration discussed a possible removal of President Donald Trump by his own cabinet on Wednesday (local time), according to matching media reports. According to information from the US broadcasters CNN, CBS and ABC, these considerations are said to have been based on an amendment to the US constitution, which basically allows the cabinet to disempower the president.
As a prerequisite, the “25th Amendment” states that the President “is incapable of exercising the duties and powers of his office”. Criteria for this “inability” are not defined, generally physical or mental impairments are meant. CNN quoted anonymous Republican leaders as saying Trump was “out of control”.
The elected president, whose resignation from office is scheduled for January 20 anyway, whipped up his supporters, who had gathered in their thousands in Washington, with a speech on Wednesday. In it he repeated his completely unsubstantiated accusation of massive fraud in the presidential election on November 3rd and called for a march on the Capitol – the seat of Congress.
Trump supporters later stormed the Capitol and rioted in the building for hours. Trump called for “peace” in a video message that was still broadcast during the riot. At the same time, he said to his rampaging supporters: “We love you” – and renewed his election fraud allegations.
Vice Pence would have to step in
In order for Trump to be ousted by his own cabinet, his deputy Mike Pence would have to support the initiative. According to the constitutional amendment, the vice president must lead the cabinet vote to disempower the president.
Pence was his loyal companion over Trump’s four-year term, but had recently distanced himself from him. So he condemned the riot in the Capitol and resisted Trump’s demand that he prevent Congress from certifying the election result. By virtue of his office, Pence is also Chairman of the Senate.
Trump “mentally not healthy”
In a letter to Pence, the Democrats in the House of Representatives also demanded the premature disempowerment of Trump by their own government. The elected president had incited a riot and “tried to undermine our democracy,” wrote the democratic members of the judiciary committee. Trump is “mentally not healthy” and unable to “process and accept” the election result.
The procedure for the removal of the president provided for in the “25th Amendment” is complicated – if it actually got rolling, it might not be completed before Trump’s term of office ends anyway.
Because a mere cabinet decision is not enough for the permanent removal of the president. The president is removed from office immediately if the vice-president and cabinet submit a corresponding declaration in Congress. The President can then, however, certify his qualifications with a counter-declaration, which would immediately put him back in office.
In the next step, the vice-president and cabinet would once again have to declare the president’s incapacity, which would lead to his renewed provisional removal from office. Congress would then have to vote on a possible final dismissal within 21 days. A two-thirds majority would then be required for this.