House Officially Asks Mike Pence to Invoke 25th Amendment

The House of Representatives on Tuesday approved a resolution calling on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove President Donald Trump from office following last week's deadly Capitol riot. Asking Pence "to immediately use his powers under Section 4 of the 25th Amendment…to declare what is obvious to a horrified Nation: That the President is unable to successfully discharge the duties and powers of his office," the resolution passed in a vote of 223-205 that was largely down party lines, according to Yahoo News. Rep. Adam Kinzinger was the only lawmaker to break ranks, voting “yes” on the resolution, which was introduced by Rep. Jamie Raskin.

In introducing the resolution for a vote, Raskin detailed the attack on the Capitol, which left five people dead and has sparked concern of further violence ahead of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration. He placed blame for the attack on the president, stating, "I think every member of this body should be able to agree that this president is not meeting the most minimal duties of office. He is not meeting the oath that he swore to uphold and defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic." Republican Rep. Tom McClintock, however, contradicted those remarks.

"What a sad and ominous way to begin the 117th Congress. Hasn't this body done enough to divide our country and abuse our Constitution without carrying that damage into the new session?" McClintock said, adding that Trump "never suggested rampaging the Capitol and disrupting the Congress."

Although the passed resolution isn't binding and is rather "highly symbolic," Axios notes it puts pressure on the vice president. Pence, however, released a letter Tuesday indicating he had no intention of invoking the 25h Amendment. In the letter, Pence wrote that he does "not believe that such a course of action is in the best interest of our Nation or consistent with our Constitution," adding that invoking the amendment "would set a terrible precedent."

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Ratified in 1967 following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the 25th Amendment is intended to be used when the president is unable to discharge the powers and duties of the office. Under such a scenario, the vice president would immediately take over as president.

Tuesday's 25th Amendment resolution was the first of two votes the House will take in its attempt to remove Trump from office. On Wednesday, a vote is set to take place on an article of impeachment charging the president with "incitement of insurrection." According to Rep. David Cicilline, the impeachment resolution had 217 cosponsors as of Tuesday afternoon. Should Trump be impeached, he will become the first president in United States history to be impeached twice.