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The House of Representatives is poised to pass a resolution on Tuesday calling on Vice President Mike Pence and President Donald Trump’s Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment and remove Trump from office.
But Pence announced before the House vote that he would reject the effort and accused the House of playing “political games.” He argued that invoking the 25th Amendment would be divisive and set a “terrible precedent” that would further “inflame the passions of the moment.”
The House will now move to impeach the president on Wednesday for “incitement of insurrection.”
Tuesday’s resolution comes after Trump incited a deadly riot at the Capitol on January 6 while Congress was counting up the electoral votes in the 2020 election and preparing to finalize President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.
In their resolution, lawmakers accused Trump of inciting the mob and undermining the Constitution, demonstrating “repeatedly, continuously, and spectularly his absolute inability to discharge the most basic and fundamental powers and duties of his office.”
Rep. Jamie Raskin, a Maryland Democrat who helped author the resolution, said ousting the president for violating his oath of office was “the road to reconciliation” amid national turmoil. He praised Pence for ratifying the Electoral College vote last week — prompting Trump to accuse him of lacking “courage” — and urged him to “stand up again.”
“Can you imagine any other president in our history encouraging and fomenting mob violence against the Congress of the United States? Against our people? That’s the question,” Raskin said during a House Rules Committee hearing on Tuesday.
‘The 25th Amendment is of zero risk to me but will come back to haunt Joe Biden’
Trump refused to take any responsibility for last week’s deadly siege of the Capitol, telling reporters on Tuesday that “everybody” thought his speech egging on his loyalists was “totally appropriate.” During a speech in Alamo, Texas, on Tuesday, Trump dismissed the threat of his removal through the 25th Amendment.
“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,” he said.
Trump also warned that the effort to impeach him is “causing tremendous anger and division and pain” and is “dangerous for the USA especially at this very tender time.”
HOUSE DEBATES THE 25TH AMENDMENT: The House of Representatives is debating a resolution urging VP Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment and remove Pres. Trump from office in light of last week’s domestic terrorist attack at the U.S. Capitol. https://t.co/HrIGbL52z7
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) January 12, 2021
Business Insider reported last week that the vice president, who was presiding over Congress, is not inclined to take the drastic step of removing the president via the 25th Amendment. On Monday evening, he and Trump spoke by phone for the first time since the riot and pledged to continue their work until the end of their terms, again signaling that Trump will not be removed by his Cabinet.
This comes as an increasing number of Republican lawmakers have announced or suggested that they’ll vote to impeach the president for inciting an insurrection. Rep. Liz Cheney, the third-highest ranking House Republican, joined GOP Reps. John Katko and Adam Kinzinger in announcing on Tuesday evening that they support the president’s impeachment.
At a rally shortly before Congress convened last week, the president called on his supporters to march to the Capitol and stop the peaceful transfer of power.
“You’ll never take back our country with weakness,” he told thousands of people who had gathered to hear him speak. “You have to show strength, and you have to be strong.”
“We’re going to have to fight much harder,” Trump added, before unleashing the mob.
Thousands of Trump supporters overran the US Capitol, hunting for lawmakers
The attempted coup resulted in five deaths, including a Capitol Police officer who died after Trump supporters struck him with a fire extinguisher. Rioters breached barriers outside the Capitol, swarmed the building, ransacked lawmakers’ offices, vandalized property, and stole records that the Justice Department said may have contained “national security equities.”
Pence was quickly evacuated along with senior lawmakers, while other members of Congress sheltered in place or behind makeshift barricades with Hill staffers and reporters.
Additional footage and media reports that have come out since the riot indicate it could have been far deadlier had lawmakers not been evacuated in time. A crowd of Trump supporters chanted “Hang Mike Pence” outside the Capitol, and a Reuters photojournalist said he overheard three rioters talking about wanting to hang him “from a Capitol Hill tree as a traitor.”
A gallows with a noose was erected outside the building as neo-Nazis and white nationalists who support the president raided the Capitol in search of other lawmakers.
One man who has since been arrested sent a text message before the insurrection saying he was going to “put a bullet” in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “on live TV.” Another was arrested while carrying 11 Molotov cocktails. And several rioters who were photographed inside the Capitol were seen carrying zip ties used to take hostages and dressed in tactical gear.
After the insurrection, it surfaced that many members of the mob are active law enforcement officers and ex-military personnel, and police departments across the country have since launched investigations to determine if members of their forces took part in the attempted coup.
Pence, for his part, was livid with the president amid the riot and refused to be evacuated to a safe location outside the Capitol grounds.
“I’ve known Mike Pence forever,” Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe told the Tulsa World newspaper last Wednesday. “I’ve never seen Pence as angry as he was today.”
Expanded Coverage Module: capitol-siege-module