Trump faces demands for his impeachment, but is there time to act? – Latest News, Breaking News, Top News Headlines

Congressional Democratic leaders on Thursday demanded President Trump’s removal from office – promising a swift impeachment, if necessary – in an effort to stop him from unleashing further chaos in his rage-filled final days.

Both House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer called on Trump’s cabinet to remove him by invoking the 25th Amendment, which was designed to remove an incapacitated or ailing president. . They warned that the House of Representatives would quickly consider impeachment articles if that didn’t happen.

Schumer said he and Pelosi tried to call Vice President Mike Pence Thursday morning to urge him to follow the 25th Amendment, but Pence did not accept their call.

“Although there are only 13 days left, any day could be a horror show for America,” said Pelosi, calling Trump “a very dangerous person who should not continue in office” and adding: “This is urgent, an emergency of the highest magnitude ”.

Dozens of House Democrats, including some from the conservative districts, echoed the call for a second impeachment and at least one Republican called for Trump’s removal.

But removing a president, even if the cabinet invokes the 25th Amendment, is a laborious and time-consuming process. And even if Trump were to be challenged again, his impeachment requires two-thirds of the vote of the Republican-controlled Senate, which acquitted him nearly a year ago after his first impeachment in the House, and has shown no sign of openness to the idea.

It was unclear Thursday whether Trump could be prevented from serving his remaining 13 days in office.

After a day when pressure mounted to kick him out of office by January 20 – not just from Democrats, but some Republican governors and the Wall Street Journal editorial board – Trump finally delivered what amounted to a speech. concession to try to appease critics. But his scripted video statement was probably too small and too late to quell the outcry.

To speed up the impeachment, House Democrats were considering starting the process on the House floor, without waiting for the House Judiciary Committee to act.

While longtime supporters were quick to distance themselves from one president whose unhinged behavior has put the nation in danger, the others have left their party in trouble and divided.

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and other White House officials resigned, and Trump’s Homeland Security chief, his former attorney general and two former chiefs of staff condemned him.

Some allies who had been reluctant to criticize a president demanding absolute loyalty broke ranks, calling his behavior indefensible.

“The president needs to understand that his actions were the problem, not the solution,” said Senator Lindsey Graham (RS.C.), who has been one of Trump’s most prominent apologists.

Graham said he is considering supporting the Cabinet’s appeal to the 25th Amendment. “If something else happens, all options would be on the table,” he said, adding, “I am hopeful that the worst is over and that we can transfer power on January 20.”

Former Trump Chief of Staff John F. Kelly has seen enough. He told CNN that if he were still in cabinet, he would work with his colleagues to remove Trump immediately.

Whispers about the president’s impeachment rebounded unintentionally in Washington, as did grim assessments of Trump’s political future. But most Republicans were reluctant to speak publicly, continuing to evade concern that Trump would demonstrate his resilience even in the aftermath of Wednesday’s Capitol riots, as he has done after so many other infamous episodes. in his political career.

The chaos on Capitol Hill also unsettled party leaders attending the winter meeting of the Republican National Committee in Florida. When RNC president Ronna McDaniel spoke of the riot, she was so upset that she cried, according to two sources at the meeting. But when Trump called the meeting Thursday, he did not mention the violence. While some cheered him, others remained silent.

The dilemma for Republicans emerged Wednesday during the congressional session that ratified the presidential election results, when Trump allies challenged the result on their behalf. More than 100 House Republicans stood by the president’s side even after the Capitol invasion just after Trump addressed the crowd and urged them to fight for him.

However, previous speculation among some Republicans that Trump might win back the White House for them in 2024 had been silenced. Of his legacy, veteran Republican strategist Mike DuHaime said, “If it’s not destroyed, it’s badly damaged.”

Even Pence, Trump’s most loyal, distanced himself from the still president after the president called the mutineers “special people” and said “we love them.” Pence condemned the mob in harsh terms while presiding over the Senate Wednesday night.

“The vice president showed yesterday that he was in charge, that he was leading,” Jon Thompson, a former Pence adviser, said Thursday. “I don’t think we can say the same about President Trump.”

The relief when Trump finally leaves office will be bipartisan, but many Democrats seeking his early removal in private are resigned – they will likely have to wait until inauguration day.

The impeachment movement in the House of Representatives is more symbolic than real. Democrats say they can’t let the Capitol siege episode show up in the history books without an answer.

Congressman Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) called it “important to show future generations that Congress did not ignore what happened yesterday and that we put on record our efforts to try to remove a president who instigated an attempted coup.”

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (DN.Y.) said articles of impeachment that bring charges against Trump should be brought to the floor immediately, bypassing his panel.

It is also discussed that the House of Representatives vote to censor the president. But Schumer touted the impeachment as an opportunity to bar Trump from occupying the Oval Office again, saying, “That should be relied on.”

One prominent Democrat who remained remarkably quiet on the issue was the man who will replace Trump on January 20. Joe Biden angrily denounced the actions of the still president around the siege of the Capitol during an event to introduce his candidate for attorney general, Merrick Garland. But he announced at the press conference in Wilmington, Del., That he would not address the movement to oust Trump. He and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris ignored the questions they were asked as they left the room.

A statement from Biden’s transition team said that he and Harris “will let Vice President Pence, the Cabinet and Congress act as they see fit.”

The two Democrats on Thursday focused on their promise to restore the rule of law by appointing leaders in the Justice Department who will answer not to them, but to the Constitution. Both critically contrasted the restraint law enforcement officials displayed in opposition to the predominantly white attackers who terrorized Congress with the force used in the summer against the Black Lives Matter protesters.

“We witnessed two standards of fairness,” Harris said. “We saw one that allowed extremists to storm the US Capitol and another that fired tear gas on peaceful protesters last summer.”

Just before Biden and Harris took the stage, Chao announced her resignation as Transportation Secretary in a letter saying she was motivated by her angst over the chaos on Capitol Hill that Trump inspired. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Chao’s husband, had broken with the still president just before the siege, in a forceful speech on the floor debunking Trump’s false claims that widespread voter fraud and other illegalities deprived the president of a second term.

But critics of him and Trump declared it too little and too late. They criticized Chao for leaving his post instead of staying and initiating an effort with his colleagues to invoke the 25th Amendment.

The cabinet, however, probably has little power to undo Trump with just a few days in office. The 25th Amendment is complicated, and its procedures can take a month to work out. In the more than half a century that it has been in the Constitution, it has never been used to overthrow a sitting president.

House Majority Leader James E. Clyburn (DS.C.) acknowledged it. “Time and circumstances may mitigate the invocation of the 25th Amendment, which I support,” he tweeted, “but there is time for impeachment.”

Times writers Noah Bierman and David Lauter contributed to this report.

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