Should the 25th Amendment be used to remove President Trump from office? | The Tylt

Should the 25th Amendment be used to remove President Trump from office?

As President Trump is dogged by scandal after scandal, and members of Congress continue to indicate an unwillingness to begin impeachment proceedings, many critics are speculating about other ways to remove President Trump from office. One possible avenue is the 25th Amendment, which includes a convoluted path for the vice president, members of the cabinet and Congress to remove the president from the Oval Office. While some argue Trump is unfit and must be removed at all costs, others worry that using the 25th Amendment is too severe a tactic. What do you think?

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Should the 25th Amendment be used to remove President Trump from office?
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The 25th Amendment, which became a part of the Constitution in 1967 after being ratified by 38 states, primarily exists in order to codify presidential succession. In the wake of John F. Kennedy's assassination, lawmakers realized the laws dictating succession were unclear. The Constitution says that "in case of the removal of the president from office, or of his death, resignation, or inability to discharge the powers and duties of the said office" the vice president will take over the presidency. After Kennedy was shot, questions arose about what to do if the president were to be incapacitated or disabled to the point of being unable to discharge his duties. Additionally, after taking office, Lyndon B. Johnson served for over a year without a vice president, as there were no clear rules dictating succession.

The first three sections of the amendment deal primarily with these issues of succession. The fourth section, however, is the one people are looking to with regards to the Trump Administration. This section lays out a complicated process by which the vice president and majority of the president's cabinet can declare the president "unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office" and remove them from office.  Per the New York Times:

...The first step would be for Vice President Mike Pence and a majority of the cabinet to provide a written declaration to the president pro tempore of the Senate (currently Senator Orrin G. Hatch of Utah) and the speaker of the House (currently Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin) that Mr. Trump “is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.” That would immediately strip Mr. Trump of the powers of his office and make Mr. Pence the acting president.
But the 25th Amendment would allow Mr. Trump to immediately send a written declaration of his own to Mr. Hatch and Mr. Ryan saying that he is in fact able to perform his duties. That would immediately allow him to resume his duties, unless Mr. Pence and the cabinet send another declaration to the congressional leaders within four days restating their concerns. Mr. Pence would take over again as acting president.
That declaration would require Congress to assemble within 48 hours and to vote within 21 days. If two-thirds of members of both the House and the Senate agreed that Mr. Trump was unable to continue as president, he would be stripped permanently of the position, and Mr. Pence would become president. If the vote in Congress fell short, Mr. Trump would resume his duties.
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Op-ed columnist Ross Douthat argued in favor of using the 25th Amendment to remove President Trump in a May 2017 New York Times piece. Douthat says Trump is not intelligent or conniving enough to have committed "high crimes and misdemeanors," the requirement to initiate impeachment.

Which is not an argument for allowing him to occupy that office. It is an argument, instead, for using a constitutional mechanism more appropriate to this strange situation than impeachment: the 25th Amendment to the Constitution, which allows for the removal of the president if the vice president and a majority of the cabinet informs the Congress that he is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office” and (should the president contest his own removal) a two-thirds vote by Congress confirms the cabinet’s judgment.
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Ian Tuttle, a writer for the National Review, disagreed with Douthat's op-ed. Tuttle believed the 25th Amendment is not only an inappropriate solution to the problem of the Trump presidency, but it could also cause an inordinate amount of turmoil and unrest in the nation.

My colleague Charles C.W. Cooke wonders “just how much of a psychic shock such a move would inflict upon this country — especially on those voters who backed and liked Donald Trump. . . . How would that look to the people who would believe that Trump had been removed by the very elites he had set out to vanquish?” The obvious answer is that the shock would be massive, and it would almost certainly cement the feeling of alienation that has gripped a non-trivial chunk of the country — the feeling that made President Donald Trump possible in the first place. That a great many Trump supporters misperceived their candidate’s fitness, or have a false picture of their own situation (e.g., that their struggles can be blamed primarily on NAFTA or China or illegal immigrants), may be true; but they remain a significant part of the polity that is finally sovereign over the United States. There are circumstances in which an elite can and ought to act to overturn popular opinion; this was the original impetus for the Electoral College (a safeguard on majoritarian tyranny), and is a power with which we invest the courts. But one dozen highly placed Republicans stripping the president of office against the wishes of millions of voters, even if justifiable on the merits and even with the ex post facto support of congressional supermajorities, would be a crippling blow to many Americans’ belief that theirs is a country of self-rule.
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David Greenberg and Rebecca Lubot argue in a piece for Politico that President Trump's behavior does not indicate an inability to hold the office.

Some might judge him to be a grandiose narcissist or even a pathological liar. But having a personality disorder or even certain forms of mental illness doesn’t necessarily render a president unfit to govern (Lincoln suffered from depression). And in fact, Trump is not “unable” to serve as president, as would be required to invoke the 25th Amendment. He is actually a high-achieving, high-functioning person who has excelled in business, entertainment and now politics. He hasn’t suffered from a crippling stroke, a psychotic break or dementia. He is, we would argue, temperamentally unsuited to be president—but that is a reason to vote against him, not to resort to a never-used clause in a constitutional amendment. 
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In the wake of the now infamous anonymous New York Times op-ed, in which an official within the Trump administration said his colleagues had considered using the 25th Amendment to remove the president, Sen. Elizabeth Warren came out in favor of the option.

"If senior administration officials think the President of the United States is not able to do his job, then they should invoke the 25th Amendment," Warren told CNN. "The Constitution provides for a procedure whenever the Vice President and senior officials think the President can't do his job. It does not provide that senior officials go around the President -- take documents off his desk, write anonymous op-eds ... Everyone of these officials have sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States. It's time for them to do their job."
..."What kind of a crisis do we have if senior officials believe that the President can't do his job and then refuse to follow the rules that have been laid down in the Constitution?" Warren told CNN. "They can't have it both ways. Either they think that the President is not capable of doing his job in which case they follow the rules in the Constitution, or they feel that the President is capable of doing his job, in which case they follow what the President tells them to do."
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Former F.B.I. Director Andrew McCabe told reporter Scott Pelley a group of Justice Department officials discussed using the 25th Amendment to remove the president from office. 

"There were meetings at the Justice Department at which it was discussed whether the vice president and a majority of the Cabinet could be brought together to remove the president of the United States under the 25th Amendment," Pelley said. "These were the eight days from Comey's firing to the point that Robert Mueller was appointed special counsel. And the highest levels of American law enforcement were trying to figure out what do with the president."
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Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has continued to deny these rumor. Per the New York Times:

In a statement released on Thursday morning after the interview with Mr. Pelley, a Justice Department spokeswoman said, “The deputy attorney general again rejects Mr. McCabe’s recitation of events as inaccurate and factually incorrect.”
The spokeswoman added that as Mr. Rosenstein “has stated, based on his personal dealings with the president, there is no basis to invoke the 25th Amendment, nor was the deputy attorney general in a position to consider invoking the 25th Amendment.”
FINAL RESULTS
Politics
Should the 25th Amendment be used to remove President Trump from office?
#25thHimOut
A festive crown for the winner
#LeaveTrumpAlone