Twenty-five Democratic lawmakers now back a bill that would give them a path to impeach US President Donald Trump, Axios reported.
The bill would create an Oversight Commission on Presidential Capacity, and it appears to be based on a loophole in the 25th Amendment which allows for the president to be removed from office if the Vice President and either a majority of Trump’s cabinet or a majority of Congress sign off on it.
The specific language of the relevant section of the amendment reads:
“Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the 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.”
John D. Feerick, former dean of Fordham Law School, is one of the chief architects of the 25th Amendment who shepherded it through Congress in the early 1960s.
He told Business Insider in an earlier interview that the senators who signed the provision into law specified that declaring the president unfit must rely on “reliable facts regarding the president’s physical or mental faculties,” not personal prejudice.
“If you read the debates, it’s also clear that policy and political differences are not included, unpopularity is not included, poor judgment, incompetence, laziness, or impeachable conduct — none of that, you’ll find in the debates in the congressional record, is intended to be covered by Section IV,” Feerick said.
The House bill had 21 supporters last week, and four more Democrats signed on after the president fired off a series of inflammatory tweets Thursday aimed at “Morning Joe” hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski.
“I heard poorly rated @Morning_Joe speaks badly of me (don’t watch anymore),” Trump began in a pair of tweets. “Then how come low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe, came to Mar-a-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Year’s Eve, and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!”
The tweets earned Trump sharp criticism from both sides of the political aisle, with many of his staunchest allies saying the comments were unnecessary.
The bill is sponsored by Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin and has support from high-profile House Democrats like Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and former Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz.
While the measure has gained steam among House Democrats, it’s unlikely it will garner enough support to pass. Though Democratic lawmakers say that some Republican congressmen have privately expressed interest in the measure, it still needs more support from the GOP. Moreover, even if it were to pass both chambers, the president would have to sign off on it. And if he vetoed the bill, which he almost certainly would, Congress would need a 2/3 majority to override his veto.
Rebecca Harrington contributed to this report.