Presumptive Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove President Donald Trump from office and a group of House Democrats began circulating articles of impeachment in response to Trump’s incitement of a crowd of supporters that violently stormed the U.S. Capitol.
Those efforts joined a growing chorus of calls from elected officials in both parties for Trump to be removed from office — either by using the 25th Amendment or through impeachment — following Wednesday’s terrifying attack.
“What happened at the U.S. Capitol yesterday was an insurrection against the United States, incited by the president,” Schumer, D-N.Y., said in a statement on Thursday. “This president should not hold office one day longer.”
“The quickest and most effective way — it can be done today — to remove this president from office would be for the vice president to immediately invoke the 25th amendment,” Schumer said. “If the vice president and the cabinet refuse to stand up, Congress should reconvene to impeach the president,” he added.
Under a provision of the 25th Amendment, the vice president can, with the support of the majority of the president’s cabinet, invoke the the measure and declare Trump unfit for office, which could lead to his early removal. Under such a scenario, the vice president would immediately take over as acting president.
The attack on the Capitol on Wednesday came after Trump spoke to the crowd, encouraging them to march to the building and saying, “you’ll never take back our country with weakness, you have to show strength and you have to be strong.”
Earlier Thursday, Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., called for Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office, becoming the first Republican to do so.
In an interview with MSNBC, Kinzinger, slammed Trump as “unmoored, not just from his duty, or even his oath, but from reality itself” and said Pence, and the rest of Trump’s cabinet, needed to invoke the measure “to end this nightmare.”
“The president is unfit and the president is unwell. And the president must now relinquish control of the executive branch voluntarily or involuntary,” he said.
Meanwhile, Democratic Reps. David Cicilline, of Rhode Island, Ted Lieu, of California and Jamie Raskin, of Maryland, circulated articles of impeachment against Trump on Thursday.
The legislation accuses Trump of “willfully inciting violence against the government of the United States” and having “gravely endangered the security of the United States,” which they added, “demonstrated that he will remain a threat to national security, democracy and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office.”
Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., also began circulating articles of impeachment against Trump, she tweeted Thursday.
Multiple sources familiar with the matter told NBC News late Wednesday that there have been informal discussions about invoking the 25th Amendment among staff within the Trump administration.
It’s unclear whether Cabinet-level officials have discussed the matter; two sources said the issue hasn’t been broached with Pence, who would need to agree along with a majority of the Cabinet to empower the vice president under the 25th Amendment.
Theconversations have been fueled in part by concerns of unrest and insurrection throughout the U.S. over the next two weeks, before President-elect Joe Biden will be sworn in as president on the 20th.
Prominent members of both parties, however, also warned against taking such drastic action — although for exceedingly different reasons.
Brian Fallon, the executive director of progressive Supreme Court reform group Demand Justice who served as Hillary Clinton’s press secretary during the 2016 campaign, tweeted that invoking the 25th Amendment would merely be a “copout” for Republicans, whom he accused of failing to hold Trump accountable themselves.
Meanwhile, John Bolton, who served as Trump’s national security adviser for nearly 18 months in 2018 and 2019, said invoking the measure would further inflame tensions in the U.S.
“I acknowledge this is dangerous, but I’ll say again, we ought to bear in mind the adage ‘do no harm,’ because you can make this worse if we’re not careful,” he said on CNN late Wednesday.