Vice President Pence has raised to objections to invoking the 25th Amendment, a move that involves Pence and a majority of Trump's Cabinet declaring that Trump is unable to perform his duties.

US President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence stand while making remarks about early results from the 2020 US presidential election in the East Room of the White House in Washington, US, November 4, 2020.
US President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence stand while making remarks about early results from the 2020 US presidential election in the East Room of the White House in Washington, US, November 4, 2020. (Reuters)

The US House of Representatives has voted to urge Vice President Mike Pence to start the US Constitution's 25th Amendment process of removing President Donald Trump from office, although the vice president already has said he will not do so.

To invoke the 25th Amendment, Pence and a majority of Trump's Cabinet would need to declare that Trump is unable to perform his duties. Pence rejected that course of action earlier Tuesday. The House is expected to vote on Wednesday on impeaching Trump over charges that he incited an insurrection against the US government.

The single charge over his January 6 speech in which he claimed he was the real winner of the November election, then urged supporters to march on Congress and "fight", is all but sure to get majority support.

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VP demurs

US Vice President Mike Pence told House leaders he does not support invoking the 25th Amendment process to remove Donald Trump, all but guaranteeing an imminent impeachment vote against the president.

"With just eight days left in the President's term, you and the Democratic Caucus are demanding that the Cabinet and I invoke the 25th Amendment," Pence wrote to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

"I do not believe that such a course of action is in the best interest of our nation or consistent with our Constitution," he said, hours before the House was to vote.

But the House pressed swiftly forward toward impeachment or other steps to forcibly remove Trump from office, even as Trump blamed Democratic foes and not himself for last week’s deadly attack on the Capitol.

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Some House Republicans want Trump censured

A group of moderate House Republicans have introduced a resolution to censure Trump for his role in last week’s attack at the Capitol and for “attempting to unlawfully overturn the 2020 presidential election.”

The group, led by Representative Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, said in a statement on Tuesday that they believe Democrats’ push to impeach the president for a second time is unrealistic and would likely result in acquittal by the Senate.

Instead, they said they believe the House and Senate should censure Trump to ensure that Congress “can unite to hold the president accountable.”

Majority Democrats will begin consideration of the impeachment resolution on Wednesday, one week after hundreds of angry Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building. The riot was echoing Trump’s baseless claims that there was widespread fraud in the election and invaded the building as Congress was counting the electoral votes that confirmed Democrat Joe Biden’s win.

Republicans signing on to the resolution include Fitzpatrick, New York Representative Tom Reed, California Rep. Young Kim, Utah Rep. John Curtis and Michigan Representatives Fred Upton and Peter Meijer.

Meanwhile, top House Republicans told rank-and-file lawmakers they won’t be pressuring them to vote a particular way when the chamber considers impeaching Trump for a second time.

That word came as GOP divisions emerge over Democrats’ plan for a House vote on Wednesday. 

It underscores that GOP leaders would likely have little clout anyway to force lawmakers’ hands on what may be a career-defining vote as the party decides where it stands in the post-Trump era.

Representative John Katko was the first Republican to say he’ll vote to impeach President Donald Trump following the deadly siege of the US Capitol by a pro-Trump riot.

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Illinois Representative Adam Kinzinger said in a statement on Tuesday that Trump is responsible for whipping up “an angry mob” that stormed the Capitol last week, leaving five dead. He says “there is no doubt in my mind” that Trump “broke his oath of office and incited this insurrection.”

Most Republicans seem ready to vote against impeachment, but some, perhaps around 10, are expected to approve the move. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy opposes impeachment.

Democrats have a 222-211 House majority, and the chamber seems certain to vote to impeach.

Republican Representative Liz Cheney says she will also vote to impeach Trump.

The Wyoming congresswoman, the No. 3 Republican in the House, said in a statement on Tuesday that Trump “summoned” the mob that attacked the Capitol last week, “assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack.” She says, “Everything that followed was his doing.”

She also notes that Trump could have immediately intervened to stop his supporters, but he did not.

Cheney says, “There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.”

There are questions about whether a Senate trial will finish before the January 20 inauguration and if the impeachment process could follow through into a Biden presidency. 

Journalist Leone Lakhani told TRT World that Biden has other priorities, including managing the Covid-19 vaccine rollout and appointing a cabinet. 

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Source: TRTWorld and agencies