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Democrats, business leaders call on Pence to invoke 25th Amendment

Supporters of President Donald Trump riot against the Electoral College vote count on Wednesday in protest of Trump's loss to President-elect Joe Biden, prompting a lockdown of the Capitol Building. Photo by Leigh Vogel/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 6 (UPI) -- Calls from Democratic lawmakers and civic and business leaders for Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove President Donald Trump from office grew Wednesday night, as they blamed him for inciting supporters to storm the U.S. Capitol.

At least one woman was fatally shot during the chaos that consumed the building as rioters attempted to stop Congress from certifying President-elect Joe Biden's victory over Trump in November's election.

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In condemnation of the violence, many leaders have called on Pence to use his power to invoke the 25th Amendment of the Constitution to remove Trump from the White House.

Section 4 of the 25th Amendment, which has never been invoked, states the president can be removed from power if the vice president and a majority of the Cabinet find him "unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office."

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Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee issued a joint statement calling on Pence and Trump's Cabinet to invoke the amendement.

"Even in his video announcement this afternoon, President Trump revealed that he is not mentally sound and is still unable to process and accept the results of the 2020 election," the members said. "President Trump's willingness to incite violence and social unrest to overturn the election results by force clearly meet this standard. So, too, are his recent tweets, which Twitter has since deleted, saying the election was 'stolen' and that today's riots 'are the things and events that happen,'" the members said.

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"You need to start the 25th Amendment," Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., tweeted at the vice president, adding Trump "is detached from reality."

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Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-Texas, called the president "a threat to our democracy and national security" and said he "must be removed from office immediately."

Pence "must invoke the 25th Amendment," she tweeted.

Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, said Trump can't be "trusted with the sacred honor the American people gave him" for the next two weeks until Biden takes over, stating he hopes the 25th Amendment is invoked or an immediate bipartisan impeachment is spearheaded.

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Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., said she was drawing up impeachment articles.

"Donald J. Trump should be impeached by the House of Representatives & removed from office by the United States Senate," she said. "We can't allow him to remain in office, it's a matter of preserving our Republic and we need to fulfill our oath."

First lady Melania Trump's chief of staff and former White House communications director Stephanie Grisham resigned effective immediately on Wednesday and White House social secretary Anna Cristina "Rickie" Niceta also stepped down following the riot.

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Members of the private sector have also condemned the violence, with Jay Timmons, president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers, a major lobbying group in Washington, D.C., saying Pence "should seriously consider" working with the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment.

"This is not law and order. This is chaos. It is mob rule. It is dangerous. This is sedition and should be treated as such," Timmons said in a statement.

Trump incited the violence, Timmons said, stating any politician who defends his actions is violating the Constitution.

"We are trying to rebuild an economy and save and rebuild lives," he said. "But none of that will matter if our leaders refuse to fend off this attack on America and our democracy."

Richard Trumka, president of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations AFL-CIO, described the violence on Twitter as the greatest assault on U.S. democracy since the civil war.

"Today's attempted coup has been years in the making as [Trump] consistently spews venom, conspiracies, hate and lies to his supporters," he said on Twitter. "They are carrying out his wishes, and far too many Republican lawmakers have enabled and even encouraged this violent threat to our republic."

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Jamie Dimon, chairman and CEO of J.P. Morgan, condemned the violence in a statement, saying "this is not who we are as a people or a country."

"Our elected leaders have a responsibly to call for an end to the violence, accept the results and, as our democracy has for hundreds of years, support the peaceful transition of power," he said.

High Frequency Economics, which produces research and economic forecasts for investment for clients worldwide, said it was suspending its regular research for the first time since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 due to "the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol."

"We at High Frequency Economics are disgusted by the role of the president of the United States in inciting this riot, and we are saddened that he cannot find the character to stand up in front of the mob he has created, quell the violence and send everyone home," it said in a statement. "Responsibility for this outrage rests securely on his shoulders."

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