Pence tells Pelosi he won’t invoke 25th Amendment to oust Trump “I do not believe such a course of action is in the best interest of our Nation or consistent with the Constitution,” Pence wrote in a letter to Pelosi.
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence on Tuesday told House Speaker Nancy Pelosi he will not invoke the 25th Amendment to oust President Donald Trump, shortly before the House was set to vote on a resolution urging him to do so.
“Now with just eight days left in the President’s term, you and Democratic Caucus are demanding that the Cabinet and I invoke the 25th Amendment,” Pence wrote in a letter to Pelosi released Tuesday night.
“I do not believe such a course of action is in the best interest of our Nation or consistent with the Constitution,” the vice president said, calling on Pelosi and “every member of Congress to avoid actions that would further divide and inflame passions of the moment.”
“I pledge to you that I will continue to do my part to work in good faith with the incoming administration to ensure an orderly transition of power,” he added.
Pence’s rejection came as the House was set to vote on a Democratic-proposed resolution urging him to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office in the wake of last week’s Capitol Hill violence.
File photo taken on Jan. 6, 2021 shows supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump gathering in front of the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C., the United States. (Xinhua/Liu Jie)
Should the vice president refuse to do so, the House will push ahead with the impeachment proceedings against Trump, warned the Democrats, who control the House.
House Democrats introduced the impeachment resolution on Monday, charging Trump with “incitement of insurrection.”
Accusing the president of sparking an attack on a coequal branch of government and disturbing the peaceful transfer of power, the Democrats pointed to Trump’s speech to supporters on Jan. 6 calling on them to fight the election results, as well as his repeated baseless claims that there was widespread voter fraud in the election.
“If he won’t resign and Vice President Pence and the Cabinet won’t invoke the 25th Amendment, he will be impeached by the House, and as law requires, tried by the Senate,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, said of Trump when addressing reporters in New York earlier in the day.
Now that Pence has refused to oust Trump through his constitutional power, the House is all but certain to vote on the article of impeachment Wednesday.
Also on Tuesday, Trump called the impeachment “ridiculous,” saying later while inspecting the border wall in Alamo, Texas, that the 25th Amendment “is of zero risk to me.”
U.S. President Donald Trump addresses a news conference at the White House in Washington D.C., the United States, on March 13, 2020. (Xinhua/Liu Jie)
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — who, according to a Tuesday report by The New York Times, believed Trump committed impeachable offenses and was pleased about the House’s effort to impeach the president — has indicated that the Senate, now in recess, is only capable of holding the impeachment trial after the end of Trump’s presidential term.
Schumer disputed McConnell’s claim that calling the Senate back in session would require unanimous consent.
“Leader McConnell is saying you can’t call the Senate back after the House votes for impeachment because it requires unanimous consent — the consent of every senator. That’s not true,” Schumer told reporters in New York.
“There was legislation passed in 2004 that allows the Senate minority and majority leader to jointly reconvene the Senate in times of emergency. This is a time of emergency,” he said.
“I’ve asked him to call the Senate back — all he needs is my agreement,” Schumer added.
It remains unclear when the House will deliver the impeachment article to the Senate for trial. Pelosi did not give an answer on Tuesday when asked about a timetable for the transmission.
“That is not something I will be discussing right now as you can imagine. Take it one step at a time,” she told reporters at the Capitol.
Pelosi on Tuesday named nine House impeachment managers for the Senate trial, with Jamie Raskin, Democrat of Maryland, being the lead manager.
Effectively serving as prosecutors for the trial, House managers will make the case that the president, given the charges levied on him in the impeachment resolution, should be convicted and removed. They may also respond to arguments presented by the president’s defense team and answer written questions from senators during the trial.