On the morning after the assault on the United States Capitol, a message appeared projected on a building in Downtown Seattle.
It read: “Remove Trump. Trump endangers us all.”
All nine Democratic members of Washington’s congressional delegation expressed support Thursday for the idea of Vice President Mike Pence and a majority of the Cabinet removing President Donald Trump using the 25th Amendment.
“This president is a danger every day that he is in office,” said Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Seattle. “I cannot emphasize to you enough how serious of a situation we are in. What we witnessed yesterday was the most violent and destructive assault on the United States Capitol since the War of 1812.”
“It says something when the president has been denied access to his Twitter and Facebook accounts but still has access to the nuclear codes,” said Rep. Derek Kilmer.
Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois is the first Republican to join the call.
“All indications are the president has become unmoored, not just from his duty and his oath but from reality itself,” he said in a video statement.
While members of Congress can advocate for it, Pence and a majority of the Cabinet are the only ones who can actually invoke the 25th Amendment.
Constitutional law expert Jeffrey Needle said the standard for removal is that a president is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.”
Pence and eight Cabinet members would have to send a letter to the Senate president pro tem and the speaker of the House.
“Immediately upon receipt of those documents, the president of the United States is stripped of his powers,” Needle said.
If Trump objected, Pence — the acting president at that point — and Cabinet members would have four days to send a second notice.
Congress would have to decide the issue within 14 days by a two-third vote in both houses.
Trump would not be able to appeal to the courts.
“It is unreviewable,” Needle said.
Rep. Rick Larsen said he knows of three drafts of impeachment articles already floating around if Pence and the Cabinet don’t act.
But with only 13 days left in the Trump presidency, Larsen added: “I don’t know if we have the time to make that happen and get it through the Senate.”
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