What Is the 25th Amendment? Demands Mount to Invoke Article After Attempted Coup by Violent Trump Extremists

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Demands mounted Thursday from lawmakers and business leaders  for the immediate removal of President Trump after a violent mob of his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol in an attack that left four people dead.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger  of Illinois became the first Republican to denounce Trump and call for his firing. "It's time to invoke the 25th Amendment and end this nightmare," he said in a videotaped speech posted to Twitter.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, of New York, the Democratic Senate Minority Leader, said much the same, pleading for the invocation of the Constitution's 25th Amendment to get rid of a president many blame for inciting rioters to desecrate the heart of American democracy.

Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California joined her Senate colleague, saying Trump could further harm the country. “Any day can be a horror show for America,” she said.

And in a highly unusual move, big business leaders took up the call. The National Association of Manufacturers, which last year awarded Ivanka Trump its Alexander Hamilton Award for extraordinary support, called for Vice President Mike Pence to consider the 25th Amendment to "preserve democracy."

The Washington, D.C. lobbying group represents more than 14,000 businesses across the country.

Former U.S. Attorney General William Barr, a longtime Trump acolyte, called the president's behavior a "betrayal of his office and supporters."

So what is the 25th Amendment? Here's a synopsis of the constitutional provision that allows for the president's removal under certain circumstances.

The 25th Amendment states that, in the case of the removal of the president, whether it be by resignation, death, or removal, the vice president will take his place. This amendment outlines procedures for the transfer of power from the president to the vice president.

Section four directly deals with a problem when a president is "incapacitated but has made no provision to temporarily transfer powers." Such incapacity includes lacking competency to fulfill the powers and duties of office. 

In that case, the vice president and a majority of cabinet members –– or, "such other body that may be established by Congress" ––  may determine there is incapacity and notify the president and speaker of the house of that inability to conduct his powers.

The president may contest that finding. If that happens, the vice president and a majority of Cabinet members must again declare the president incapable, in writing and within four days. Congress would have 48 hours to reconvene. A two-thirds vote of both chambers is needed to rule the president unfit to serve, NPR reported. Should the vote fall short, the president remains in power.

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