Pelosi Calls Riot Trump’s Greatest ‘Gift’ to Putin, Calls for Immediate Removal

January 7, 2021 by Dan McCue
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., holds a news conference on the day after violent protesters loyal to President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Congress, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi urged Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove President Trump from office after she says he “incited an armed insurrection against America.”

Speaking to reporters during her weekly press conference, Pelosi went on to say that if he fails to do so quickly, Congress “may be prepared to move forward with impeachment” against Trump for instigating the rioter’s attack on the Capitol.

 “In calling for this seditious act, the president has committed an unspeakable assault on our nation and our people — the gleeful desecration of the U.S. Capitol, which is the temple of our American Democracy,” Pelosi said.

She went on to say that accountability is also needed for the Republicans in Congress “who promoted extreme conspiracy theories that provoked violence and encouraged the mob, and then who, after the desecration of the Capitol, went back to the House floor and continued to push the falsehoods that underpinned this assault on Democracy.”

But most of Pelosi’s condemnation came down on Trump, who she called, “a very dangerous person who should not continue in office.”

“This is urgent. This is an emergency of the highest magnitude,” she said.

On Wednesday, pro-Trump rioters clashed with Capitol police officers, smashed windows and trashed offices. One woman was shot and killed by a Capitol police officer, and it took several hours for order to be restored.

More than 50 officers were injured in the melee, and several were hospitalized with serious injuries.

That’s why it’s imperative that Pence and the cabinet invoked the 25th amendment take Trump out, she said.

The alternative, she continued, would be to open themselves up to the question of whether they stand by his actions.

Pelosi also addressed those who might suggest that as Trump only has 13 more days in office, removing him early might be more trouble than it’s worth.

Such thinking, she said, is a failure to “recognize what yesterday was. A threshold was crossed or such magnitude that there’s no way that this president should be allowed to make any decision to rouse any troops — his Trump-ites.

Trump had addressed the crowd before the riot, urging them to march on the Capitol in order to put pressure on Republican senators who were unwilling to overturn the presidential election.

“What’s next? What happens today? Who knows? But what we do know is that he must be contained,” she said.

Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer earlier on Thursday called for the invocation of the 25th Amendment. Schumer said that if they failed to act, Congress should reconvene and impeach him. Several House Democrats were circulating articles of impeachment on Thursday morning.

Under the 25th Amendment, the vice president, with the concurrence of 55% of the cabinet can remove a sitting president due to his inability to continue to do his job.

Pelosi said if that doesn’t happen, the House could go the impeachment route, or pursue an alternative court and try to invoke the 25th Amendment itself.

In October, Rep. Jamie Raskin introduced legislation establishing a Commission on Presidential Capacity to Discharge the Powers and Duties of Office. Raskin’s bill had 38 cosponsors on the day it was introduced.

Section 4 of the 25th Amendment empowers Congress to establish a permanent “body” that, with the concurrence of the Vice President, can declare that the President is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.”

But in all the years since the 25th Amendment was adopted, no one bothered to create the committee.

Under Raskin’s bill in emergency situations, Congress could pass a concurrent resolution requiring the Commission to examine the President, determine his/her ability to execute the powers and duties of the office, and report its findings to Congress.

If presidential incapacity exists, the Vice President would immediately assume the role of Acting President.

All of this comes less than two weeks before Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will be inaugurated as president and vice president.

In the early hours of Thursday morning, the joint session of Congress completed the job of certifying Biden and Harris as the winners of the 2020 election. The two houses twice convened in separate sessions to consider objections to the electoral count in Arizona and Pennsylvania. After debate, both objections were defeated by overwhelming margins in the Senate and narrower margins in the House.

Meanwhile, the FBI and local police were reviewing video in an effort to identify and prosecute those who trespassed in the Capitol building.

Trump was impeached in December 2019 on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, after pressuring the Ukrainian president to announce a corruption investigation of Biden’s son.

In that case, he was acquitted by the Senate, with all Republicans except Sen. Mitt Romney voting to acquit on both charges.

“The message that has been sent to the world through the president’s actions is that he is a complete tool of Vladimir Putin,” Pelosi said. “Putin’s goal was to diminish the role of the view of democracy in the world. That’s what he has been about. And, again, his enabler has been Donald Trump for a long time.

“Putin wants to undermine democracy. That’s what he’s about domestically and internationally. And the President gave him the biggest of all of his many gifts yesterday.

“We are in a very difficult place in our country as long as Donald Trump still sits in the White House,” she said.

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