Donald Trump facing new threat as Democrats plan bill to trigger 25th Amendment in bid to oust him

Even the constitutional expert behind the move admits it's a long shot

Andrew Buncombe
New York
Monday 03 July 2017 13:42
The White House has said it will not dignify the move with a response
The White House has said it will not dignify the move with a response

Democrats are pushing a bill that could see Donald Trump ousted from power - without him being either impeached or defeated at the polls - by claiming the President’s mental state opens him to the use of a never-before triggered part of the US constitution.

The draft bill, authored by Congressman Jamie Raskin of Maryland, who is also a constitutional law professor, would activate an investigation into whether Mr Trump has been too far “incapacitated” to continue as President. He would see to do so by making use of parts of the 25th Amendment.

The amendment was adopted in 1967 in response to the assassination of President John F Kennedy and other previous presidential medical crises. It deals with the temporary transfer of power from the president to the vice president, and has been used when Ronald Reagan and George W Bush underwent surgeries.

But according to the Washington Post, Mr Raskin told reporters his legislation would focus on Section 4 of the amendment, which reads in part: “Whenever the vice president and a majority of ... bod[ies] such as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the president pro-tempore of the Senate and 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.”

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Mr Raskin’s bill would seek to create an independent commission to determine whether the President is physically or psychologically unfit for office. He said he was concerned that “something is seriously wrong” with Mr Trump, citing a “sustained pattern of behaviour”.

“It certainly doesn't feel like the ship is on an even course right now,” he said.

“This is a president who seems increasingly at odds with everyone and everything around him.”

The bill has 20 Democratic co-sponsors, but no Republicans. For the measure to pass, Vice President Mike Pence would have to sign off on it. With the Republicans controlling both houses of congress, the chances of the bill passing, or even getting a hearing, are slim. The White House said it would not “dignify this with an official response”.

Earlier this year, Richard Painter, former ethics lawyer for George W Bush, suggested that the 25th Amendment could be used after Mr Trump was accused of sharing sensitive information with the Russian foreign ministry.

He said: “Cabinet and VP need to read Amendment 25.”

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