Congress votes on pushing 25th Amendment to remove Trump, but Pence refuses

by 24USATVJan. 14, 2021, 6 a.m. 20
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The House of Representatives voted to formally request Vice President Mike Pence invoke the 25th Amendment to remove President Donald Trump from power Tuesday night. The resolution gave Pence 24 hours to respond before the House began the impeachment process on Wednesday. But before the 25th Amendment vote could go through in the House, Pence sent a letter to Pelosi Tuesday evening refusing to invoke the power to remove Trump.

"I do not believe that such a course of action is in the best interest of our nation or consistent with our Constitution," Pence said in the letter. "I will not now yield to efforts in the House of Representatives to play political games at a time to serious in the life of our nation."

Read more: What is the 25th Amendment and what does it have to do with Trump?

Regardless of his refusal, the resolution on the 25th Amendment vote came through with 223 votes in favor. Congress is seeking to remove Trump from the White House in his last days as president before the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden on Jan. 20.

The proceedings followed an insurrection last week where Trump supporters violently stormed the US Capitol, halting the process to certify Joe Biden as the next US president. The insurrection failed and Biden's presidency was confirmed by the Senate in the early hours of Thursday after reconvening Wednesday night following their evacuation from the Capitol.

Pelosi urged Pence and members of the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment last Thursday. Calling Trump "a complete tool of Putin," Pelosi said it would be "very dangerous" to allow him to continue in office until the inauguration. "While it's only 13 days left, any day can be a horror show for America," she said.

Section 4 of the 25th Amendment to the US Constitution provides the vice president along with a majority of sitting Cabinet secretaries with the power to determine a sitting president as unfit for office. The determination is made where a president is deemed "unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office."

"The 25th Amendment is of zero risk to me," Trump told reporters when he visited Texas Tuesday.

As Pence has refused the formal request from Congress to invoke the 25th Amendment, the House will vote to impeach Trump. House Democrats on Monday formally introduced an article of impeachment, which now has more than 200 cosponsors, charging Trump with "incitement of insurrection" for his role in the deadly riot at the US Capitol. The House began considering the article of impeachment when it reconvened Wednesday at 9 a.m. ET.

Read more: Trump's impeachment vote: Update on what time it could happen, what it means, what next

CNET reporters Shelby Brown and Clifford Colby also contributed to this report.

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