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Pelosi joins Schumer's call for Trump ouster

Laura Litvan and Steven T. Dennis
Bloomberg

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer in calling for the removal of President Donald Trump in the wake of what many lawmakers from both sides of the aisle said was his incitement of the mob that stormed the Capitol.

Pelosi said the House may proceed with impeachment if Vice President Mike Pence doesn’t invoke the 25th Amendment – which would also require the backing of the majority of Trump’s cabinet – to oust the president.

Pelosi said at a press briefing Thursday, “the president of the United States incited an armed insurrection against America” with his appeal to supporters Wednesday who went on to storm the Capitol. She joined Schumer in urging Pence to use the 25th Amendment to remove Trump.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., holds a news conference on the day after violent protesters loyal to President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Congress, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021.

“If the vice president and the cabinet do not act, the congress may be prepared to move forward with impeachment,” she said.

Pelosi said Trump is “ a very dangerous person who should not continue in office. This is urgent, an emergency of the highest magnitude.”

Schumer called for President Donald Trump to be immediately removed from office, saying he incited insurrection against the government by encouraging the mob that stormed the Capitol on Wednesday.

Schumer, who is set to become majority leader, said in a statement that Vice President Mike Pence should invoke the Constitution’s 25th Amendment, using support of the cabinet to take over in the Oval Office until Joe Biden is inaugurated on Jan. 20.

In this image from video, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of N.Y., speaks as the Senate reconvenes after protesters stormed into the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021.

“If the vice president and the cabinet refuse to stand up, Congress should reconvene to impeach the president,” Schumer said in a statement.

Schumer iss the highest-ranking official yet to call for Trump to be removed. A number of rank-and-file Democrats have urged Trump’s impeachment, and a Republican, Representative Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, earlier backed ousting the president via the 25th Amendment.

“Not only has the president abdicated his duty to protect the American people and the people’s house, he invoked and inflamed passions that only gave fuel to the insurrection that we saw here,” Kinzinger said in a tweeted video statement. “The president is unfit and the president is unwell and the president must now relinquish control of the executive branch voluntarily or involuntarily.”

The 25th Amendment provides for the removal of the president if the vice president and a majority of the cabinet determines that he or she is “unable to discharge the powers and duties” of the office. If the president contests the finding, and the vice president and cabinet persist, Congress can order the president’s removal by a two-thirds vote in both chambers.

The outcry stemmed from the violence yesterday when a mob of Trump supporters broke through police lines and invaded the Capitol, disrupting a joint session of Congress convened to formally count the Electoral College votes from the November presidential election. Trump has promised an orderly transition of power but has refused to acknowledge his election loss to Biden.

It’s not clear yet whether significant numbers of Republicans would follow such a call, though some explicitly blamed Trump for whipping his supporters into a frenzy and said he bore responsibility for yesterday’s events.

Impeachment and removal from office would require a bare majority in the House but two-thirds of the Senate.

Only one Republican, Mitt Romney, voted to convict Trump after his impeachment last year. Convicting Trump would require many more Republicans to vote in favor.

In addition to removing him from office, Congress has the power to bar him from running again.