Nancy Pelosi

Calls for Trump's Removal: How Does the 25th Amendment Work?

Howard Wasserman, a law professor with Florida International University, explains

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More than 100 lawmakers in Congress, mostly Democrats, are now calling for President Donald Trump to be removed from office. 

Multiple sources familiar with the matter tell NBC News there have been informal discussions about invoking the 25th Amendment by some staff-level officials within the administration. 

“The Vice President has to agree and he has to get a majority of the cabinet to agree,” explained Howard Wasserman, a law professor with Florida International University.

The 25th Amendment says if a president becomes unable to do the job, he can be relieved of his duties and the Vice President takes over. 

In this particular scenario, according to Wasserman, invoking the 25th Amendment would transfer the powers of the presidency over to the Vice President rather than removing him from office. 

He explained the president can issue a declaration claiming he is able to carry out his duties. That would lead to a back and forth between him and the VP and Cabinet, eventually sending the issue to Congress. 

However, the powers would have already been transferred to the VP and Jan. 20 would be here before Congress would have to act. 

“Here’s a way to relieve the president of his powers without having to get Congress involved, because we think it's going to be harder to get Congress to do what’s necessary than the VP and the Cabinet,” Wasserman said.

The other question, in light of recent resignations and the many acting secretaries in the President’s Cabinet, can they actually participate in invoking the 25th Amendment?

“It’s not clear if someone who is acting and who is not a senate confirmed secretary would be able to participate,” Wasserman said.

Though, he says there is some consensus that it might not matter. If Pence and those acting cabinet members decide to move forward, there’s not enough time left in this presidency for it to really be challenged. 

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