Here's how the 25th Amendment could remove Trump from office - and why it won't happen

Here's how the 25th Amendment could remove Trump from office - and why it won't happen
From CBC - January 9, 2018

Donald Trump's tweet declaring himself a"stablegenius" amid questions about his mental fitness have rekindledtalk about how the25th Amendmentoriginally ratified forextreme cases suchas a comatose presidentcould remove him from the Oval Office.

That would also behighlyimprobable.

Author Michael Wolff's bestsellerFire and Fury: Inside the Trump White Houselays out purported accounts that the U.S. president's staff privately worry Trump's mental stability could be his undoing.

Invoking the U.S. Constitution's25thAmendment is an idea that's "alive every day in the White House," Wolff told NBC's Meet the Press. It'sa concept he said hasbeen chewed over among staffers who think it's one way Trump could be ousted from power, on grounds that he's "unable" to carry out his presidential duties.

But the political barriers would make it "exceptionally unlikely," according to Constitutional expert Jonathan Turley, who teaches law at George Washington University.

For one thing, Trump does meet the standard of being able to serve, he said.

"The amendment simply says a president must be able to discharge his duties. It does not necessarily say to discharge them well," he said. "People seem to be confusing that point."

It would be changing the standard, he said, to suggest Trump is unable to discharge his dutiesbased on his turbulent leadership style and erratic, nuclear war-stoking Twitter habits.

"He's clearly able to discharge his duties; just people do not like how he's doing it,"Turleyargued.

Liberal opponents of the administration have for months endorsed the Constitutional measure as a mechanism to unseat Trump, citing his erratic behaviour. Trump himself raised the topic of his mental grip when he declared via Twitter on Saturday that he is "a very stable genius."

"Actually, throughout my life, my two greatest assets have been mental stability and being, like really smart," he tweeted.

Two avenues exist for Trump's removal under the 25th Amendment, though Turley sees no clear basis for why either would work. The first route is what he refers to a "mutiny option," whereby Vice President Mike Pence and a majority of the Cabineteight membersagree on paper that the president is no longer able to discharge the duties of the Oval Office. They would then notify Congress that the vice president intends to take over, making Pence the acting president.

This can easily be undone by Trump himself.

"If the president simply declares to Congress that no inability exists, he then resumes his power," Turley said.

Then Pence and his cabinet would have to send another declaration to Cabinet within four days to declare Trump unfit.

Once Congress sends that second declaration, it then has 48 hours to debate the issues and then 21 days for both chambers of Congress to agree by a two-thirds majority to remove Trump from power. Achieving dual supermajorities would be almost impossible, however, given that Republicans currently control both houses.


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