3 ways that Trump and congresspeople could be expelled from office after Wednesday’s attempted coup
What began as a day of protests in Washington, D.C., soon turned deadly as supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol building—pushing past metal barricades and security guards and inciting violence—to stop the peaceful transition of power from Trump to President-elect Joe Biden, while falsely asserting that the election had been stolen.
The mob plowed through the halls of the Senate and Congress, pillaged offices, and posed for photos sitting at the desks of senators and representatives. Improvised explosives, thought to be planted by the rioters, were found. One woman was killed in a standoff with the Capitol police. A curfew was implemented in Washington, D.C.; the National Guard was called to quell the situation at hand; and the FBI mobilized agents.
“I call on this mob to pull back and allow the work of democracy to go forward,” said Joe Biden in a live televised speech, condemning Trump for encouraging violence.
The President, meanwhile, recorded a speech where he told the mob to “go home,” before falsely adding that the election had been stolen from him—stoking the anger of the mob. “We love you,” Trump said to protesters. “You’re very special.” The video was taken down from Facebook because of the number of lies about the election the President told in it.
Later, three tweets the President wrote that failed to condemn the attempted coup were removed from Twitter. “These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away,” the President tweeted, seemingly condoning what had happened.
The President’s actions and words have led many on the left, and some on the right, to discuss ways to end the Trump presidency early, even with just two weeks left in his term.
The 25th Amendment
Over 50 years ago, the creators of this amendment to the Constitution predicted that there may be a President whose actions were so erratic they would require a way to forcibly remove him from office. Under section four of the amendment, the Vice President and majority of his cabinet could decide that the President is no longer fit to lead and send a letter to Congress to inform them. The Vice President would then take over as long as Congress approves of the transition of power.
It seems incredibly unlikely, however, that Vice President Mike Pence and Trump’s cabinet would invoke such a rule.
Trump has already been impeached once, though he was not removed from office. Rep. Ilhan Omar said she is already drafting new articles of impeachment, blaming the President for causing an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.
“Donald J. Trump should be impeached by the House of Representatives & removed from office by the United States Senate,” wrote Omar. “We can’t allow him to remain in office, it’s a matter of preserving our Republic and we need to fulfill our oath.”
It’s likely that the Democrat-held House would vote to impeach the President once again. However, it’s unlikely that the Senate, still led by Republican Mitch McConnell, would then vote to remove him from office once he was impeached.
The (Cori) Bush Resolution
Freshman Democratic Rep. Cori Bush said on Wednesday that she would introduce a resolution which could expel Republican members of Congress who “incited this domestic terror attack through their attempts to overturn the election.” These congresspeople, she said, “must face consequences.”
Legally, members of Congress are able to expel one another from the legislative body, though it’s unlikely that there would be enough votes to do so.