The Slatest

Pelosi: House “Will Proceed” With Impeachment if Pence Fails to Act on 25th Amendment

Mike Pence talks to Nancy Pelosi, both standing at the rostrum of the House chamber surrounded by other people
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Mike Pence after the count of electoral votes concluded on Thursday. Win McNamee/Getty Images

It’s happening. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said for the first time Sunday night that the House of Representatives will move forward with an effort to impeach President Donald Trump unless Vice President Mike Pence and the Cabinet invoke the 25th Amendment to remove him from office. “In protecting our Constitution and our Democracy, we will act with urgency, because this President represents an imminent threat to both,” Pelosi said in a letter Sunday to her Democratic colleagues. “As the days go by, the horror of the ongoing assault on our democracy perpetrated by this President is intensified and so is the immediate need for action.”

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The first step will take place Monday, when Democratic leaders will seek unanimous consent for a resolution that will call on Vice President Mike Pence to convene the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment and declare that Trump is “incapable of executing the duties of his office.” If there are objections, as there almost certainly will be, then the House will vote on the resolution Tuesday and Pence will be given 24 hours to act. Pence is not expected to move on the issue. “Next, we will proceed with bringing impeachment legislation to the floor,” Pelosi said.

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The timeline means the House could vote on impeachment as early as Wednesday. That doesn’t, however, mean that the articles of impeachment would be sent to the Senate immediately. Some Democrats are worried that immediately moving to begin the Senate impeachment trial could end up distracting from President-elect Joe Biden’s first days in office. So some are pushing for a delay that would allow Biden to get his Cabinet nominees through before the Senate takes up impeachment. Rep. James Clyburn said Sunday that the House could delay presenting articles of impeachment to the Senate for a few months. “Let’s give President-elect Biden the 100 days he needs to get his agenda off and running,” Clyburn said. “And maybe we will send the articles some time after that.”

Some, however, say the momentum is now too strong considering more than 200 House Democrats have signed on as co-sponsors on an impeachment resolution. “The train has left the station. I think many are worried about how it gets done, how it’s going to be handled, and how do we make sure it’s not going to divide the country further,” a Democrat told the Washington Post. “It’s on a track that, while people have reservations, nobody knows how to stop it.”

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