How a President Can Be Removed

Source: David Frum interviewed by Lawrence O’Donnell on MSNBC, November 17, 2016

Presidents can be removed in two ways – by impeachment, of course, for high crimes and misdemeanors. And we have a pretty high bar for what constitutes that. But if somebody is simply psychologically or physically incapable, there is also a process in the Constitution, Section Four of the Twenty-Fifth Amendment…. I don’t predict that this will happen at all. But I do think we are going to be talking about it more and more as we wonder about the mental state of the President Elect.

Text of the 25th Amendment, Section 4:

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.

Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive department or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days 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. Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty-eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty-one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within twenty-one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two-thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office.

Advertisements

3 responses to “How a President Can Be Removed

  1. David Schatzky

    If mental health professionals were to catalogue the observable evidence of Trump’s mental incapacity there would be more than enough to declare him unfit for office. The latest: his insistence on an investigation into voter fraud which he claims denied him a popular vote victory. According to all reliable authority, there is no factual basis for this. Daily, he demonstrates distorted thinking, paranoia, extreme narcissism and psychopathy, all of which cloud his judgement and leads him to reckless, impulsive pronouncements and actions.

  2. There’s no question of his incapacity. But getting the VP and a majority (never mind 2/3) of Congress to so declare is another story.

  3. mike holliday

    There is a third way. Think 1963.