Trump Faces Backlash From Within His Administration, Lawmakers
NOEL KING, HOST:
What is the appropriate response to a president who incited a violent mob and who is taking no responsibility for it? Yesterday, Trump condemned the attack on the capital, but he never mentioned the role that he played.
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PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: To those who engaged in the acts of violence and destruction, you do not represent our country. And to those who broke the law, you will pay.
KING: Police have arrested dozens of people. But what about the president who lied to them about who won the election and told them to fight for him? Some lawmakers want to invoke the Constitution's 25th Amendment and remove the president from office. Congressional correspondent Susan Davis is covering this story. Good morning, Sue.
SUSAN DAVIS, BYLINE: Hey, Noel.
KING: What are the discussions among lawmakers about removing President Trump like at this point?
DAVIS: Well, the top two Democrats in Congress, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and incoming Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer yesterday called on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment. They called him to deliver that message personally, waited on the line for 25 minutes, but he would not get on the phone with them. Pelosi said they won't wait long. If he does not respond or does not do it, she is willing and ready to move forward in the House with articles of impeachment.
KING: Let's talk about how this would work. The 25th Amendment - not one we're necessarily familiar with.
KING: What has to happen to invoke that?
DAVIS: There is a provision in the 25th Amendment that has never been invoked before that gives the authority to the vice president, along with a majority of the president's cabinet, to send a letter to Congress to say the president is not capable of fulfilling his duties in office, and it would allow the vice president to become acting president. The president can challenge it and put the question to Congress, but it's a longer process. Supporters of the strategy say it would effectively tie President Trump's hands in his remaining, I guess, now 12 days in office and prevent him from taking any further official actions.
KING: And are any Republicans supportive of this idea?
DAVIS: There are a couple, but overwhelmingly, Republicans on the Hill remain, at least, publicly and privately behind the president.
KING: OK, fair enough. So here's what we have. We have Republicans not supporting the idea. We have Vice President Pence reportedly not at all supporting the idea. We have a cabinet that's unlikely to agree to this. What else could Democrats do? What hand could they play?
DAVIS: They already have an impeachment resolution that's being circulated with co-sponsors. Pelosi said it is the overwhelming sentiment of Democrats that they want to vote on this. Congress is technically out of session until Inauguration Day. Democrats are going to talk this afternoon. They would have to come back into session next week and essentially hotline an impeachment resolution to the floor, bypassing committees. It would require almost nearly unanimous party unity to get it through if no Republicans join them. Obviously, it's not going to have time to lead to a Senate trial and to convict President Trump. But a lot of Democrats I talked to say that it would at least have the political impact of making him the first president impeached twice. And that's a punishment they'd like to see delivered for what happened this week.
KING: NPR congressional correspondent Susan Davis. Thank you, Sue.
DAVIS: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.