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Pelosi, Schumer say they haven't heard from Pence on invoking 25th Amendment

Pelosi, Schumer say they haven't heard from Pence on invoking 25th Amendment
© Greg Nash

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiBiden attends first church service as president in DC, stops at local bagel shop More hands needed on the nuclear football Sunday shows preview: All eyes on Biden administration to tackle coronavirus MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerCapitol insurrection fallout: A PATRIOT Act 2.0? Schumer calls for DOJ watchdog to probe alleged Trump effort to oust acting AG Student loan forgiveness would be windfall for dentists, doctors and lawyers MORE (D-N.Y.) said on Thursday evening that Vice President Pence has not returned their call after they reached out to discuss invoking the 25th Amendment to remove President TrumpDonald TrumpMore than two-thirds of Americans approve of Biden's coronavirus response: poll Sarah Huckabee Sanders to run for governor Mexico's president tests positive for COVID-19 MORE from office.

“This morning, we placed a call to Vice President Pence to urge him to invoke the 25th Amendment which would allow the Vice President and a majority of the Cabinet to remove the President for his incitement of insurrection and the danger he still poses. We have not yet heard back from the Vice President," the two congressional Democratic leaders said in a joint statement Thursday.

“The President’s dangerous and seditious acts necessitate his immediate removal from office. We look forward to hearing from the Vice President as soon as possible and to receiving a positive answer as to whether he and the Cabinet will honor their oath to the Constitution and the American people," they added.

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The statement comes after the two Democratic leaders separately offered public support for invoking the 25th Amendment, an extraordinary step that would require a majority of Cabinet officials plus Pence to declare to Congress that Trump is unable to fulfill his duties as president.

Schumer, in a separate press conference in New York on Thursday, said he and Pelosi had been kept on hold when they called Pence earlier, but he didn't ultimately take their call.

"Speaker Pelosi and I tried to call the Vice President this morning to tell him to do this. They kept us on hold for 25 minutes and then said the vice president wouldn’t come on the phone. So we are making this call public because he should do it and do it right away," Schumer said.

Dozens of congressional Democrats and a handful of GOP officials have thrown their support behind invoking the 25th Amendment.

Though Trump is in the final days of his presidency, supporters of taking the historic step say they are worried he could incite more violence and chaos before President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenFive examples of media's sycophancy for Biden on inauguration week Drastic measures for drastic times — caregiver need mobile health apps Boycott sham impeachment MORE is sworn in on Jan. 20.

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A source confirmed to The Hill on Wednesday night that administration officials had started discussing the possibility of invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office, though they warned it was unclear if the talks had reached a Cabinet-level.

If the 25th Amendment were successfully used against Trump, it would elevate Pence to acting president.

Trump could challenge his Cabinet by declaring to congressional leaders that he is fit to keep the reins of power, in which case his top administration officials would need a two-thirds vote in both the House and Senate to remove him from office. Nearly 140 House Republicans voted to throw out Biden's win in Pennsylvania, and only two have specifically said they would either support or not be opposed to the use of the 25th Amendment.

Pence, who was in the Capitol on Wednesday as it was under siege from pro-Trump rioters, has not commented publicly on the push to remove the president, whom he has been loyal to for more than four years.

But Business Insider and The New York Times reported on Thursday night that Pence was opposed to the move and would not support invoking the 25th Amendment. 

Both Pelosi and Schumer have said that Trump should be impeached if his Cabinet is not willing to remove him.

"Yesterday the president of the United States incited an armed insurrection against America," Pelosi told reporters in the Capitol. "The gleeful desecration of the U.S. Capitol, which is the temple of our American democracy, and the violence targeting Congress are horrors that will forever stain our nation's history — instigated by the president."