Live Updates: Trump Impeachment, 25th Amendment Effort
An American flag flies at half staff at the U.S. Capitol on Monday to honor two U.S. Capitol Police officers who died following the violence on Capitol Hill. Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images hide caption
The House of Representatives is expected to debate and vote Tuesday on a measure calling on Vice President Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to declare President Trump incapable of executing his duties.
If the vice president and a majority of the Cabinet agree, Pence could assume the powers of the presidency.
The resolution calls on Pence to take these steps, referencing Trump's attempts to intervene in the vote counting of the Nov. 3 election, including his call to Georgia Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, as well as his inciting language to supporters at a rally in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6 ahead of the siege at the Capitol building.
"While violent insurrectionists occupied parts of the Capitol, President Trump ignored or rejected repeated real-time entreaties from Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to appeal to his followers to exit the Capitol," states the measure, submitted by Maryland Democrat Jamie Raskin.
In a letter to the Democratic caucus Sunday evening, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said that if the resolution passes, as is expected, Pence will have 24 hours to respond. Pence has made no indication he would take such an action.
Democrats had attempted to pass this resolution on Monday through unanimous consent, but Rep. Alex Mooney, R-W.V., objected.
Separately, the House is also likely to vote on an article of impeachment on Wednesday.
Read the full text of the 25th Amendment resolution below.
RESOLUTION calling on Vice President Michael R. Pence to convene and mobilize the principal officers of the executive departments of the Cabinet to activate section 4 of the 25th Amendment to declare President Donald J. Trump incapable of executing the duties of his office and to immediately exercise powers as acting President.
Whereas on Wednesday, January 6, 2021, the day fixed by the Constitution for the counting of electoral votes, Congress experienced a massive violent invasion of the United States Capitol and its complex by a dangerous insurrectionary mob which smashed windows and used violent physical force and weapons to overpower and outmaneuver the United States Capitol Police and facilitated the illegal entry into the Capitol of hundreds, if not thousands, of unauthorized persons (all of whom entered the Capitol complex without going through metal detectors and other security screening devices);
Whereas, the insurrectionary mob threatened the safety and lives of the Vice President, the Speaker of the House, and the President pro tempore of the Senate, the first three individuals in the line of succession to the presidency, as the rioters were recorded chanting ''Hang Mike Pence'' and ''Where's Nancy'' when President Donald J. Trump tweeted to his supporters that ''Mike Pence didn't have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our country'' after the Capitol had been overrun and the Vice President was in hiding;
Whereas the insurrectionary mob attacked law enforcement officers, unleashed chaos and terror among Members and staffers and their families, occupied the Senate Chamber and Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office along with other leadership offices, vandalized and pilfered government property, and succeeded in interfering with the counting of electoral votes in the joint session of Congress;
Whereas the insurrectionary mob's violent attacks on law enforcement and invasion of the Capitol complex caused the unprecedented disruption of the Electoral College count process for a 4-hour period in both the House and the Senate, a dangerous and destabilizing impairment of the peaceful transfer of power that these insurrectionary riots were explicitly designed to cause;
Whereas 5 Americans have died as a result of injuries or traumas suffered during this violent attack on Congress and the Capitol, including Capitol Police Officer Brian D. Sicknick and Ashli Babbitt, Rosanne Boyland, Kevin Greeson, and Benjamin Phillips, and more than 50 police officers were seriously injured, including 15 officers who had to be hospitalized, by violent assaults, and there could easily have been dozens or hundreds more wounded and killed, a sentiment captured by Senator Lindsey Graham, who observed that ''the mob could have blown the building up. They could have killed us all'';
Whereas these insurrectionary protests were widely advertised and broadly encouraged by President Donald J. Trump, who repeatedly urged his millions of followers on Twitter and other social media outlets to come to Washington on January 6 to ''Stop the Steal'' of the 2020 Presidential election and promised his activist followers that the protest on the Electoral College counting day would be ''wild'';
Whereas President-elect Joseph R. Biden won the 2020 Presidential election with more than 81 million votes and defeated President Trump 306–232 in the Electoral College, a margin pronounced to be a ''landslide'' by President Trump when he won by the same Electoral College numbers in 2016, but President Trump never accepted these election results as legitimate and waged a protracted campaign of propaganda and coercive pressure in the Federal and State courts, in the state legislatures, with Secretaries of State, and in Congress to nullify and overturn these results and replace them with fraudulent and fabricated numbers;
Whereas President Trump made at least 3 attempts to intervene in the lawful vote counting and certification process in Georgia and to coerce officials there into fraudulently declaring him the winner of the State's electoral votes, including calls to Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and a State elections investigator, and an hour-long conversation with Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger badgering him to ''find 11,780 votes'' and warning of a ''big risk'' to Raffensperger if he did not intervene favorably to guarantee the reelection of President Trump;
Whereas President Trump appeared with members of his staff and family at a celebratory kickoff rally to encourage and charge up the rioters and insurrectionists to ''march on the Capitol'' and ''fight'' on Wednesday, January 6, 2021;
Whereas while violent insurrectionists occupied parts of the Capitol, President Trump ignored or rejected repeated real-time entreaties from Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to appeal to his followers to exit the Capitol, and also ignored a tweet from Alyssa Farah, his former communications director, saying: ''Condemn this now, @realDonaldTrump—you are the only one they will listen to. For our country!'';
Whereas photographs, cell phone videos, social media posts, and on-the-ground reporting show that numerous violent insurrectionists who invaded the Capitol were armed, were carrying police grade flex cuffs to detain and handcuff people, used mace, pepper spray, and bear spray against United States Capitol Police officers, erected a gallows on Capitol grounds to hang ''traitors,'' vehemently chanted ''Hang Mike Pence!'' while surrounding and roving the Capitol, emphasized that storming the Capitol was ''a revolution,'', brandished the Confederate battle flag inside the Capitol, and were found to be in possession of Napalm B, while still unidentified culprits planted multiple pipe bombs at buildings near the Capitol complex, another lethally dangerous criminal action that succeeded in diverting law enforcement from the Capitol; and
Whereas Donald Trump has demonstrated repeatedly, continuously, and spectacularly his absolute inability to discharge the most basic and fundamental powers and duties of his office, including most recently the duty to respect the legitimate results of the Presidential election, the duty to respect the peaceful transfer of democratic power under the Constitution, the duty to participate in legally defined transition activities, the duty to protect and uphold the Constitution of the United States, including the counting of Electoral College votes by Congress, the duty to protect the people of the United States and their elected representatives against domestic insurrection, mob rule, and seditious violence, and generally the duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the House of Representatives calls upon Vice President Michael R. Pence—
(1) to immediately use his powers under section 4 of the 25th Amendment to convene and mobilize the principal officers of the executive departments in the Cabinet to declare what is obvious to a horrified Nation: That the President is unable to successfully discharge the duties and powers of his office; and
(2) to transmit to the President pro tempore of 10 the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives notice that he will be immediately assuming the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.
Vice President Pence, pictured alongside House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, presides over a joint session of Congress to certify the 2020 Electoral College results after supporters of President Trump stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6. A new House resolution calls on Pence to assume the presidency. Erin Schaff/Pool/AFP via Getty Images hide caption
The House of Representatives is expected to vote Tuesday on a resolution calling for Vice President Pence to invoke the 25th amendment against President Trump, days after violent insurrectionists, fueled by Trump's rhetoric, overtook the U.S. Capitol.
The measure, which is likely to pass the Democrat-controlled House, urges Pence to "immediately" use his powers to convene the Cabinet and declare Trump unfit for office and assume the powers and responsibilities of acting president of the United States.
Trump "widely advertised and broadly encouraged" the protests that led to last week's violence, the resolution argues, and then ignored calls to swiftly condemn his supporters' actions. It also cites his repeated efforts to delegitimize the presidential election results with false claims of widespread voter fraud.
The vote comes as Democrats in the House have also filed an impeachment resolution charging Trump with fomenting the insurrection.
If Pence does not respond within 24 hours to the 25th Amendment resolution, the House plans to move forward with impeachment proceedings. Trump is just the third U.S. president to have ever been impeached. He would be the only to have been impeached twice.
Pence has given no indication that he plans to seek Trump's removal from office. But Democrats, emboldened by bipartisan outrage over the attempted siege of the Capitol last week, are resolved in their efforts to seek Trump's dismissal even before President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in on Jan. 20.
Given the need for the Senate to also act in that time frame, achieving that goal is unlikely — though a senior Democratic aide told NPR that Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer is exploring emergency authority to call that chamber back to move more quickly.
The American flag flies at half-staff on the west front of the U.S. Capitol on Saturday. On Monday, House Democrats introduced an impeachment resolution against President Trump over his role in last week's insurrection. Al Drago/Getty Images hide caption
Democrats in the House of Representatives have introduced a single article of impeachment against President Trump, charging him with "incitement of insurrection" over Wednesday's violence at the U.S. Capitol.
"Donald John Trump engaged in high Crimes and Misdemeanors by inciting violence against the Government of the United States," the resolution argues, citing his false claims of election fraud in the months leading up to the riot — which he repeated on Jan. 6 — and a phone call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger where Trump urged him to "find" votes to overturn the results there.
The impeachment article says that during an address to supporters on Wednesday, Trump "willfully made statements that, in context, encouraged — and foreseeably resulted in — lawless action at the Capitol, such as: 'if you don't fight like hell you're not going to have a county anymore.' "
The House is expected to take up the article later this week. If it's approved, Trump would become the first U.S. president to be impeached twice. It's not clear when the Senate would take up the matter. A Senate vote is required for removal from office — a timeline that is nearly impossible given next week's inauguration.
Read the full article below (see it in its original form here).
Resolution impeaching Donald John Trump, President of the United States, for high crimes and misdemeanors.
Resolved, the Donald John Trump, President of the United States, is impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors and that the following article of impeachment be exhibited to the United States Senate:
Article of impeachment exhibited by the House of Representatives of the United States of America in the name of itself and of the people of the United States of America, against Donald John Trump, President of the United States of America, in maintenance and support of its impeachment against him for high crimes and misdemeanors.
ARTICLE 1: INCITEMENT OF INSURRECTION
The Constitution provides that the House of Representatives "shall have the sole Power of Impeachment" and that the President "shall be removed from Office on Impeachment, for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors." Further, section 3 of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution prohibits any person who has "engaged in insurrection or rebellion against" the United States from "hold[ing] and office ... under the United States.' In his conduct while President of the United States — and in violation of his constitutional oath faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, provide, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed — Donald John Trump engaged in high Crimes and Misdemeanors by inciting violence against the Government of the United States, in that:
On January 6, 2021, pursuant to the 12th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, the Vice President of the United States, the House of Representatives, and the Senate met at the United States Capitol for a Joint Session of Congress to count the votes of the Electoral College. In the months preceding the Joint Session, President Trump repeatedly issued false statements asserting that the Presidential election results were the product of widespread fraud and should not be accepted by the American people or certified by State or Federal officials. Shortly before the Joint Session commenced, President Trump, addressed a crowd at the Ellipse in Washington, D.C. There, he reiterated false claims that "we won this election, and we won it by a landslide." He also willfully made statements that, in context, encouraged — and foreseeably resulted in — lawless action at the Capitol, such as: "if you don't fight like hell you're not going to have a country anymore." Thus incited by President Trump, members of the crowd he had addressed, in an attempt to, among other objectives, interfere with the Joint Session's solemn constitutional duty to certify the results of the 2020 Presidential election, unlawfully breached and vandalized the Capitol, injured and killed law enforcement personnel, menaced Members of Congress, the Vice President, and Congressional personnel, and engaged in other violent, deadly, destructive and seditious acts.
President Trump's conduct on January 6, 2021, followed his prior efforts to subvert and obstruct the certification of the results of the 2020 Presidential election. Those prior efforts included a phone call on January 2, 2021, during which President Trump urged the secretary of state of Georgia, Brad Raffensperger, to "find" enough votes to overturn the Georgia Presidential election results and threatened Secretary Raffensperger if he failed to do so.
In all this, President Trump gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of Government. He threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power, and imperiled a coequal branch of Government. He thereby betrayed his trust as President, to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.
Wherefore, Donald John Trump, by such conduct, has demonstrated that he will remain a threat to national security, democracy, and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office, and has acted in a manner grossly incompatible with self-governance and the rule of law. Donald John Trump thus warrants impeachment and trial, removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States.
Speaking to reporters Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., calls for the removal of President Trump from office. Samuel Corum/Getty Images hide caption
Updated 5:45 p.m. ET
With nine days left before President Trump's term comes to an end, the House of Representatives is forging ahead with plans to try to remove the president from office over his role in his supporters' violent attack last week on the U.S. Capitol.
On Monday, House Democrats filed an impeachment resolution charging Trump with inciting an insurrection. A vote is expected this week, likely on Wednesday. Meanwhile, the House is also moving forward with a resolution calling on Vice President Pence to invoke the Constitution's 25th Amendment, relieving Trump of his duties until his term ends next week.
Timing on the Senate side on impeachment is more uncertain, but a senior Democratic aide told NPR that Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer is exploring options for getting the chamber to act sooner.
25th Amendment resolution
During a pro forma session Monday morning, House Democrats attempted to pass the 25th Amendment measure by unanimous consent. But unanimous consent only works if there is no objection, and as expected, a Republican did object: Rep. Alex Mooney of West Virginia.
On Tuesday, the House is expected to debate the measure and hold a full floor vote.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she's asked Pence to respond within 24 hours. Pence has made no indication that he's planning to invoke that authority.
Then Democrats would proceed with the impeachment process, which would come more than a year after they impeached Trump for his role in the Ukraine affair.
The article of impeachment
House Democrats' article of impeachment cites both Trump's incitement of his supporters on Wednesday and his call to Georgia Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in which Trump encouraged the official to "find" enough votes to overturn the election in the state.
"President Trump gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of government," the Democrats' impeachment resolution states. "He threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power, and imperiled a coequal branch of government." As of Sunday evening, more than 200 House members had signed on as co-sponsors of the resolution.
On Sunday, House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., suggested it could be months before the impeachment measure, should it pass, is sent to the Senate — a move that would enable the upper chamber to begin acting on President-elect Joe Biden's early legislative agenda and confirm his Cabinet nominees before undertaking a trial.
On Monday, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., the No. 2 Democrat in the House, told reporters on Capitol Hill that he would like to send the impeachment measure to the Senate as soon as possible, although ultimately that decision rests with Pelosi.
Given the timeline and required action from the Senate, removing Trump from office before Jan. 20 is unlikely — if not impossible. However, Schumer is looking into using emergency authority that would let him and Republican leader Mitch McConnell call the Senate back early for a trial, a senior Democratic aide said.
If the Senate vote doesn't happen before Trump would leave office anyway, Trump could still be at risk of being barred from future office.
White House spokesman Judd Deere has called the impeachment effort "politically motivated" and said it would "only serve to further divide our great country."
Biden was asked about impeachment on Monday and said his first priority is to pass another stimulus bill. He shared he had spoken earlier Monday with senators, who discussed the possibility of splitting days between an impeachment trial and confirming Biden's nominees and passing more economic relief.
Asked if Trump engaged in sedition, Biden replied: "I've been clear that President Trump should not be in office. Period."
On Friday, Biden had said the decision whether to pursue impeachment was Congress' to make.
Trump's actions prompted immediate calls for his removal from both political opponents and some Republicans once considered allies. But even those who criticize Trump are not in agreement over whether impeachment is the best approach.
GOP Rep. Dusty Johnson of South Dakota told NPR's Rachel Martin that while he believes Trump "deserves a greater than average share of the blame" for the rioting at the Capitol, he also puts the blame on the political rhetoric in the country that he says has built up over a long time.
"[We should ask] in this moment, what is the right thing to do for the country? And it may well be that impeachment could create far more division, and that a different accountability mechanism would be more appropriate."