US Vice President Mike Pence
US Vice President Mike Pence
AFP Photo

Washington: The Democrat-controlled US House of Representatives, which is in a rush to impeach Donald Trump over the unprecedented Capitol Hill attack, passed a resolution urging Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove the president from office. The resolution was voted by 223 to 205 votes on Tuesday night, mostly on party lines, with one Republican voting in favour of the resolution and another five abstaining. The resolution called upon Pence to mobilise the Cabinet to activate the 25th Amendment to remove the president from office.

The 25th Amendment, adopted more than 50 years ago in the wake of President John F Kennedy's assassination, provides a mechanism for the succession of the president for his or her replacement in the event he or she proves unfit to serve. Under the amendment, the vice president and a majority of either the Cabinet or some other body designated by Congress may remove the president from office.

The vote came after Pence, a Republican, wrote to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that he would not invoke the 25h Amendment.

"Under our Constitution, the 25th Amendment is not a means of punishment or usurpation. Invoking the 25th Amendment in such a manner would set a terrible precedent," Pence said in a letter to Pelosi, a Democrat.

A daylong debate awaits the resolution before it is put to vote. Every single Democrat was expected to vote to impeach, and Republicans were bracing for as many as two dozen of their members to follow suit.

Two-thirds of the Senate – or 17 Republicans -- would have to vote to convict Trump. If that happens, it will make him the first president to be impeached twice.

Trump met Pence on Monday for the first time since they fell out last week over the president’s effort to overturn the election and the mob assault, which had put the vice president in danger. The two spoke for an hour or more in the Oval Office in what amounted to a tense peace summit meeting with the remainder of the Trump presidency at stake, reports the New York Times.

The impeachment move came as President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. signalled clearly that he would not stand in the way of the impeachment proceeding, telling reporters, that his primary focus was trying to minimize the effect that an all-consuming trial in the Senate might have on his first days in office, adds the NYT.

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