Now that Donald Trump has spent the past three days using Twitter to make clear to everyone involved that he’s not even close to being mentally competent, momentum for invoking the 25th Amendment has grown dramatically. That support isn’t merely coming from the American people. Congressman Jamie Raskin previously introduced a bill which would allow Congress to invoke the 25th on its own. Now that bill is rapidly gaining momentum among members of Congress.
The 25th Amendment is most widely known for giving the Vice President and the majority of the cabinet the ability to remove the President for being unfit. But Section 4 of the 25th actually goes further: “Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.”
In other words, the 25th Amendment says that if there’s a law in place allowing Congress to remove the President, it can do so. That’s why Jamie Raskin introduced such a law: it creates a Congressional panel for invoking the 25th. But now other members of Congress are signing on. For instance Joaquin Castro tweeted this at Raskin today: “Hey what’s that 25th Amendment legislation you’re working on? Track me down when we get back next week” (link). In fact, since Trump’s latest Twitter meltdown began, there are now twenty-five members of Congress who have signed onto Raskin’s bill.
To be clear, the 25th Amendment (removing the President for being incapable of doing the job), is an entirely different thing than impeachment (charging, trying, and possibly removing the President for committing a specific crime). It may be easier for Congress to demonstrate that Donald trump is unfit for office than to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he’s guilty of his various crimes (collusion, money laundering, obstruction of justice, etc). And some Republicans in moderate districts might be more inclined to support it, in the hope of avoided getting wiped out in the midterms. So Raskin’s bill may end up being the most quick and efficient way of driving Trump out of office, beyond the public continuing to pressure Trump to resign. If you’re a regular reader, feel free to support Palmer Report.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report