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World Insights: Pence refuses to remove Trump with 25th Amendment, impeachment inevitable

(Xinhua)    15:21, January 13, 2021

WASHINGTON, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Vice President Mike Pence on Tuesday told House Speaker Nancy Pelosi he won't invoke the 25th Amendment to oust President Donald Trump, hours before the House approved a resolution urging him to do so.

The vice president's rejection, though widely expected, will force the Democrats, who are resolved to remove Trump from office after his supporters stormed the Capitol last week, to impeach the president on Wednesday.


"Now with just eight days left in the President's term, you and Democratic Caucus are demanding that the Cabinet and I invoke the 25th Amendment," Pence wrote in a letter to Pelosi released Tuesday night.

"I do not believe such a course of action is in the best interest of our Nation or consistent with the Constitution," the vice president said, adding that he will not "yield to efforts in the House of Representatives to play political games."

Pence argued in the letter that the 25th Amendment was designed to "address Presidential incapacity or disability," and that the law "is not a means of punishment or usurpation."

Urging Pelosi "and every member of Congress to avoid actions that would further divide and inflame passions of the moment," Pence said that he will continue to do his work with the incoming administration "to ensure an orderly transition of power."

Despite Pence's refusal, the House on Tuesday night still voted for a resolution urging him to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office in the wake of last week's Capitol Hill violence.

The resolution, passed 223-205 almost entirely along party lines, asked Pence to "declare what is obvious to a horrified Nation: That the President is unable to successfully discharge the duties and powers of his office."

Should the vice president refuse to do so, the House will push ahead with the impeachment proceedings against Trump, warned the Democrats, who control the House.

Also on Tuesday, Trump called the impeachment "ridiculous." "To continue on this path, I think it's causing tremendous danger to our country, and it's causing tremendous anger," Trump said.

He said later when inspecting the border wall in Alamo, Texas, that the 25th Amendment "is of zero risk to me."


House Democrats introduced the impeachment resolution on Monday, charging Trump with "incitement of insurrection."

Accusing the president of sparking an attack on a coequal branch of government and disturbing the peaceful transfer of power, the Democrats pointed to Trump's speech to supporters on Jan. 6 calling them to fight the election results, as well as his repeated baseless claims that there were widespread voter fraud in the election.

"If he won't resign and Vice President Pence and the Cabinet won't invoke the 25th Amendment, he will be impeached by the House, and as law requires, tried by the Senate," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, said of Trump when addressing reporters in New York earlier in the day.

Now that Pence has refused to oust Trump through his constitutional power, the House is all but certain vote on the article of impeachment Wednesday.

Four Republican representatives explicitly said Tuesday that they will vote "yes" to the impeachment article, adding to the possibility that the House will impeach Trump for a second time during his presidency.

The third-ranking House GOP leader Liz Cheney was among the House Republicans who announced their support for the impeachment. The Wyoming congresswoman was joined by John Katko of New York, Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, and Fred Upton of Utah.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, according to the The New York Times, said he believes Trump did commit impeachable offenses. However, he indicated earlier that the Senate, now in recess, would only be capable of holding the impeachment trial after the end of Trump's presidential term.

Schumer disputed McConnell's claim by citing a 2004 legislation that allows the Senate minority and majority leaders to jointly reconvene the upper house in times of emergency. "This is a time of emergency," Schumer said.

It remains unclear when the House will deliver the impeachment article to the Senate for the trial. Pelosi did not answer Tuesday when asked about a timetable for the transmission.

Pelosi on Tuesday named nine House impeachment managers to prosecute Trump during the Senate trial, with Jamie Raskin, Democrat of Maryland, being the lead manager.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Wen Ying, Liang Jun)

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