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Pence rejects House call to invoke 25th amendment after Capitol riot

By Don Jacobson & Daniel Uria
Pence rejects House call to invoke 25th amendment after Capitol riot
Vice President Mike Pence rejected a call to invoke the 25th Amendment and declare President Donald Trump unfit for office as the House approved a resolution urging him to do so. Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 12 (UPI) -- Vice President Mike Pence on Tuesday night declined to invoke the 25th amendment as the House voted to urge him to do so.

In a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Pence said he did not believe invoking the 25th amendment to deem President Donald Trump unfit for office would be "in the best interest of our nation or consistent with our Constitution" and asked the chamber to avoid actions that would "further divide and inflame passions of the moment" following Wednesday's riot at the Capitol building.

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"Last week, I did not yield to pressure to exert power beyond my constitutional authority to determine the outcome of the election and I will not now yield to efforts in the House of Representatives to play political games at a time so serious in the life of our nation," he wrote.

Pence's message came before the House voted 223-205 to approve the Raskin Resolution, which asks the vice president to convene the Trump administration Cabinet and declare that Trump "incapable of executing the duties of his office and to immediately exercise powers as acting president," ahead of a floor vote Tuesday night.

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Following Pence's decision not to comply, the House will move forward with a single article of impeachment that was introduced Monday, which charges Trump with inciting the mob attack on the U.S. Capitol last week.

House Democratic leader Steny Hoyer said the impeachment vote would be expected Wednesday after Pence is given 24 hours to respond to the resolution.

The article of impeachment against Trump already has enough support in the chamber to pass, including from three Republicans.

RELATED Full text: Article of impeachment against President Donald Trump

On Tuesday Reps. John Katko, R-N.Y.; Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., and Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., all said they will vote in favor of impeaching Trump.

"To allow the president of the United States to incite this attack without consequences is a direct threat to the future of our democracy," Katko said in a statement.

Kinzinger said that Trump violated his oath of office and incited the insurrection at the Capitol.

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"He used his position in the Executive to attack the Legislative. So in assessing the articles of impeachment brought before the House, I must consider: if these actions -- the Article II branch inciting a deadly insurrection against the Article I branch -- are not worthy of impeachment, then what is an impeachable offense," he said. "I will vote in favor of impeachment."

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Cheney said that Trump summoned and assembled the mob and "lit the flame" of Wednesday's attack.

"None of this would have happened without the president," said Cheney. "The president could have immediately and forcefully intervened to stop the violence. He did not. There has never been a greater betrayal by a president of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution."

Hoyer said that, once passed in the House, the article of impeachment should be transmitted immediately to the Senate for trial -- which would be Trump's second. He was impeached by the House and acquitted in the Senate a year ago on charges of abusing power and obstructing Congress related to conduct with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

No U.S. president has been impeached twice.

Some Democrats have raised the idea of delaying the trial in the Senate, which will soon be under Democratic control, for 100 days to allow the chamber to concentrate on passing President-elect Joe Biden's early legislative agenda and confirming his Cabinet choices.

Biden said Monday it's possible the Senate could accomplish both immediately.

"The question is whether or not, for example, if the House moves forward ... with the impeachment and sends it over to the Senate, whether or not we can bifurcate this," he told reporters in Delaware.

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Senate Democratic leader Charles Schumer of New York said a trial could be held without disrupting Biden's agenda.

"We're going to have to do several things at once, but we've got to move the agenda as well," he told The Buffalo News. "Yes, we've got to do both."

Donald Trump supporters breach Capitol, riot over election results

Supporters of President Donald Trump riot against the Electoral College vote count on January 6, 2021, 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

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