Pence Rules Out Invoking 25th Amendment as Dems Push Impeachment
WASHINGTON (AP) — With impeachment ahead, the House is trying first to push the vice president and Cabinet to act even more quickly to remove President Donald Trump from office.
Democrats approved a resolution Tuesday night calling on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke constitutional authority under the 25th Amendment to oust Trump — though Pence said he would not do so. The House will vote Wednesday on actually impeaching Trump. That may well pass, though conviction in the Senate — if the question comes to a vote— is much less likely.
Trump said Tuesday that the impeachment effort itself was what was causing “tremendous anger” in the country. He will face a single impeachment charge — “incitement of insurrection."
(Story written by LISA MASCARO, ZEKE MILLER and MARY CLARE JALONICK/AP)
Vice President Mike Pence is ruling out invoking the 25th Amendment to remove President Donald Trump from power, less than a week after the violent insurrection at the Capitol.
In a letter late Tuesday to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Pence said the mechanism should not be used “as a means of punishment or usurpation” and reserved for cases of medical or mental incapacitation. Pelosi has called on Pence to secure the majority of the Cabinet and vote to declare Trump unfit to serve.
As the House appears on the cusp of a bipartisan impeachment of Trump, Pence encouraged Congress to avoid actions to “further divide and inflame the passions of the moment” and to focus on smoothing the transition to President-elect Joe Biden’s administration.
Pelosi has said if Pence rejects use of the 25th Amendment, the House will move to impeach him. Already, at least three Republicans have said they would vote for that.
Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger has become the third Republican member of Congress to call for President Donald Trump’s impeachment.
Kinzinger said in a statement Tuesday that Trump is responsible for whipping up “an angry mob” that stormed the Capitol last week, leaving five dead. He says “there is no doubt in my mind” that Trump “broke his oath of office and incited this insurrection.”
The House is set to start impeachment proceedings against Trump on Wednesday.
The president faces a single impeachment charge, incitement to insurrection, for his actions surrounding the mob attack on the Capitol, the worst domestic assault on the building in the nation’s history.
Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the third-ranking House Republican, and Republican Rep. John Katko of New York said earlier Tuesday that they would vote to impeach Trump.
Republican Rep. Liz Cheney says she will vote to impeach President Donald Trump.
The Wyoming congresswoman, the No. 3 Republican in the House, said in a statement Tuesday that Trump “summoned” the mob that attacked the Capitol last week, “assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack.” She says, “Everything that followed was his doing.”
She also notes that Trump could have immediately intervened to stop his supporters, but he did not.
Cheney says, “There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.”
Cheney is a daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney.
Trump himself has taken no responsibility for his role in inciting the attackers.
New York Rep. John Katko was the first Republican to say he’d vote to impeach Trump.
Rep. John Katko is the first Republican to say he’ll vote to impeach President Donald Trump following the deadly siege of the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Trump mob.
The New York congressman said in a statement posted to Twitter late Tuesday: “I will vote to impeach this president.”
Katko, a former federal prosecutor, said he did not make the decision lightly.
He said, “To allow the president of the United States to incite this attack without consequence is a direct threat to the future of our democracy.” He says, "I cannot sit by without taking action.”
The House is set to start impeachment proceedings against Trump on Wednesday.
The president faces a single impeachment charge, “incitement to insurrection,” for his actions ahead of the mob attack on the Capitol, the worst domestic assault on the building in the nation’s history.
The heads of five House committees say they have “grave concerns about ongoing and violent threats” after a briefing from FBI officials about the violent riots at the U.S. Capitol last week.
The lawmakers, all Democrats, said Tuesday that “it is clear that more must be done to preempt, penetrate, and prevent deadly and seditious assaults by domestic violent extremists in the days ahead.” They did not share specific details from the briefing.
They say the FBI confirmed to them that they will prosecute “every individual associated with this act,” including anyone who entered restricted areas outside the Capitol and those who made it inside.
The statement came from House Oversight and Reform Chair Carolyn Maloney, House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler, Homeland Security Committee Chair Bennie Thompson, House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff, House Armed Services Committee Chair Adam Smith and Massachusetts Rep. Stephen Lynch, a member of the Oversight panel.
The military’s top leaders have issued a memo to forces decrying last week’s Capitol Hill violence and reminding service members that freedom of speech does not give anyone the right to resort to violence.
Tuesday’s memo was signed by all members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. It also reminded military members that Joe Biden was duly elected and will be sworn in as the next president on Jan. 20.
The memo said, “Any act to disrupt the Constitutional process is not only against our traditions, values and oath; it is against the law.”
The memo made no direct mention of military members having participated in last week’s insurrection.
House lawmakers will now be required to go through a metal detector security screening before being allowed to enter the chamber.
The new safety protocol announced Tuesday from the acting sergeant-at-arms comes less than a week after a mob loyal to President Donald Trump stormed the White House. Five people died.
The acting sergeant-at-arms, Timothy P. Blodgett, wrote to House staff: “Effective immediately, all persons, including Members, are required undergo security screening when entering the House Chamber.”
Previously, members of Congress had almost free roam at the Capitol, able to bypass security screening stations at most entrances to the building.
At the House chamber, there have been Capitol Police officers and civilian door monitors but no screening stations.
Blodgett also told lawmakers that they must wear masks during the COVID-19 crisis and that they face removal from the chamber if they fail to do so.
Top House Republicans are telling rank-and-file lawmakers they won’t be pressuring them to vote a particular way when the chamber considers impeaching President Donald Trump for a second time.
That word comes as GOP divisions emerge over Democrats’ plan for a House vote Wednesday. It underscores that GOP leaders would likely have little clout anyway to force lawmakers’ hands on what may be a career-defining vote as the party decides where it stands in the post-Trump era.
Most Republicans seem ready to vote against impeachment, but some, perhaps around 10, are expected to approve the move. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy opposes impeachment.
Two GOP leadership aides, speaking on condition of anonymity Tuesday to describe a private conference call, confirmed the decision to not “whip” the impeachment vote.
The article of impeachment accuses Trump of incitement of insurrection for goading a crowd of his supporters to surge to the Capitol last Wednesday as Congress was affirming Trump’s election defeat by Democrat Joe Biden. Five people died as the mob sieged the building.
Democrats have a 222-211 House majority, and the chamber seems certain to vote to impeach. There are two vacancies.
— By AP writer Alan Fram