The assault on Capitol of the United States by supporters of President Donald Trump on Wednesday has prompted calls from some Congressional Democrats for remove him from his position before President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in on January 20.
There are two ways to remove a president from office: impeachment (impeachment) and 25th amendment to the Constitution from United States. In any scenario, the vice president Mike Pence would take over until Biden’s inauguration.
Can Trump be indicted and removed from office?
Yes. Impeachment is a process that begins in the House of Representatives, the lower house of Congress, which files charges that a president participated in a “felony or misdemeanor,” similar to an indictment in a criminal case.
If a simple majority of the 435 members of the House approves to press charges, known as “articles of impeachment,” the process moves to the Senate, the upper house, which holds a trial to determine the guilt of the president. The Constitution requires a two-thirds vote of the Senate to convict and remove a president.
Vice President Mike Pence leads the early morning certification of Biden’s victory. Photo: EFE
Trump was previously indicted by the Democrat-led US House in December 2019 on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress stemming from his efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate Joe and Hunter Biden. Trump was acquitted by the Republican-led Senate in February 2020.
What “felonies and misdemeanors” could Trump be charged with?
Frank Bowman, a professor of constitutional law at the University of Missouri, says Trump “possibly fostered sedition“or a attempted overthrow of the United States government.
But Bowman points out that Trump could also be charged with a more general crime: disloyalty to the Constitution of the United States and not keeping his oath. Congress has the discretion to define a felony and a misdemeanor and is not limited to actual criminal offenses.
“The essential offense would be one against the Constitution, one of essentially trying to undermine the legal results of a legally conducted election,” Bowman notes.
How quickly can a president be impeached and removed from office?
Theoretically, it could done in one dayas the House and Senate have wide latitude to set impeachment rules as they see fit.
“They could decide to impeach him at noon and walk down the Capitol Rotunda to the Senate and make a rule to start a trial tomorrow afternoon,” Bowman says. “There is not no obstacle constitutional for that “.
What is the purpose of the 25th Amendment?
The 25th Amendment, ratified in 1967 and adopted after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963, deals with presidential succession and disability.
Section 4, which has received the most attention during the Trump presidency, addresses situations in which a president can’t do the job but he does not resign voluntarily.
For this to happen, Pence and the majority of Trump’s cabinet would have to declare Trump unable to fulfill duties of the presidency and remove him.
Later, Trump could declare that he was not incapacitated. After four days, if Pence and the majority of the cabinet do not question Trump’s determination, he regains power. If they refute the statement of the president, the matter Congress would decide. If both houses determined by majority two-thirds that Trump is incapacitated, Pence would continue to serve as the presidency.
Bowman believes that the history of Amendment 25 makes clear that it is intended for cases where a president is incapacitated and unable to serve, such as a physical or mental illness.