Can President be stripped of his powers before Jan 20?

Friday, January 8th, 2021 00:00 |
US President Joe Biden. Photo/AFP

US President Donald Trump has less than two weeks left in office, but members of his cabinet are reportedly considering ways to remove his presidential powers after his supporters violently stormed the US Capitol on Wednesday.

Democrats of the House Judiciary Committee have also written a letter to Vice-President Mike Pence urging him to act to remove Trump from office, saying he had stoked an act of insurrection and “sought to undermine our democracy”.

Discussions are focusing on the 25th Amendment of the US Constitution, which allows for a transfer of power from the President to the Vice-President, either temporarily or permanently. 

How would this work?

The 25th Amendment allows the Vice-President to become acting president when a president is unable to continue his duties, if for example, he or she becomes incapacitated due to a physical or mental illness.

The part of the amendment being discussed is section four, which allows the Vice-President and a majority of the cabinet to declare President Trump unable to perform his duties.

They would need to sign a letter to the speakers of the Houses of Representatives and the Senate declaring the President is unfit to govern or incapable “of discharging the powers and duties of his office”. 

At this point, Vice-President Mike Pence would automatically take over.

The President is given the chance to offer a written response, and if he contests the finding, then it falls on Congress to decide.

Any vote in the Senate and House of Representatives ordering the President’s removal requires a two-thirds majority.

Until the issue is resolved, the Vice-President would act as president. 

Discussions about invoking the 25th Amendment also arose after President Trump’s Covid-19 diagnosis in October last year.

More on World