US Capitol Violence: Can Donald Trump be removed from his office before his term ends on Jan 20?
New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: An unprecedented crisis unfolded at the Capitol Hill in Washington DC after a large number US President Donald Trump's supporters flounced the US Capitol and clashed with the police resulting in the death of four including a woman and injuries to many others. A total of 52 people have been arrested by the Capitol police so far in connection with the violence. The violence broke out during a joint session of Congress was convened to certify President-elect Joe Biden's win in the November Presidential Elections.
The storming of the US Capitol by Trump supporters could lead to a major setback to the outgoing President Donald Trump as the violence has prompted calls by some Congressional Democrats to remove him from office before President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in on January 20. The chaotic scenes unfolded after Trump, who has refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power, addressed thousands of protesters and repeated unfounded claims that the election was stolen from him.
Now amid the calls to remove Trump, there are two ways a president can be removed from his office: (i) Impeachment and (ii) the 25th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. In both the scenarios, Vice President Mike Pence would take over the charge of the President until Joe Biden's inauguration on January 20.
Let's get to know both scenarios in detail:
Can Trump be impeached and removed?
Yes, President Donald Trump can be impeached and removed from his office. A misconception about "impeachment" is that it refers to the removal of a president from office. In fact, impeachment refers only to the House of Representatives, the lower chamber of Congress, bringing charges that a president engaged in a "high crime or misdemeanor" - similar to an indictment in a criminal case.
If a simple majority of the House's 435 members approves bringing charges, known as "articles of impeachment," the process moves to the Senate, the upper chamber, which holds a trial to determine the president's guilt. The Constitution requires a two-thirds vote of the Senate to convict and remove a president.
What is the 25th Amendment?
The 25th Amendment, ratified in 1967 and adopted in the wake of President John F. Kennedy's assassination in 1963, deals with presidential succession and disability. Section 4, which has gotten the most attention during Trump's presidency, addresses situations where a president is unable to do the job but does not step down voluntarily.
For this to happen, Pence and the majority of Trump's Cabinet would need to declare Trump unable to perform the duties of the presidency and remove him. Trump could subsequently at any time declare that he was no longer disabled. After four days, if Pence and the majority of the Cabinet do not contest Trump's determination, Trump regains power.
If they dispute the president's declaration, the issue is decided by Congress. If both chambers determine by a two-thirds majority that Trump is incapacitated, Pence would continue to discharge the duties of the presidency.
Experts say that the history of the 25th Amendment makes clear it was intended for instances in which a president is incapacitated and unable to serve, such as physical or mental illness, adding that there is little to no chance of the amendment being invoked because Pence would be reluctant to do so and because there are strong arguments that Trump is not incapacitated so much as unfit for office.
How quickly can a president be impeached and removed from office?
Theoretically, it could be done in a day as the House and Senate have wide latitude to set impeachment rules as they see fit. They could decide to impeach him tomorrow by noon and walk it over the Capitol rotunda to the Senate and make a rule to start a trial tomorrow afternoon as there is no constitutional bar to that.
(With Agency Inputs)
Posted By: Talibuddin Khan