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Warren calls for 25th Amendment to be invoked against Trump

The Hill logo The Hill 9/6/2018 Tal Axelrod

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said Thursday she believes it's time for White House officials to invoke the 25th Amendment and begin the process of removing President Trump from office.

The comments come one day after a blistering op-ed published in The New York Times by an anonymous senior administration official that blasted Trump as amoral and "anti-democratic" and said staffers must constantly rebut the president's "misguided impulses" and "worst inclinations."

"If senior administration officials think the president of the United States is not able to do his job, then they should invoke the 25th Amendment," Warren told CNN.

"The Constitution provides for a procedure whenever the vice president and senior officials think the president can't do his job. It does not provide that senior officials go around the president - take documents off his desk, write anonymous op-eds. ... Every one of these officials have sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States. It's time for them to do their job," she added.

The author of the Times op-ed said the idea of removing Trump from office had already been floated by his top aides.

Donald Trump, Elizabeth Warren are posing for a picture © Provided by The Hill

"Given the instability many witnessed, there were early whispers within the Cabinet of invoking the 25th Amendment, which would start a complex process for removing the president. But no one wanted to precipitate a constitutional crisis. So we will do what we can to steer the administration in the right direction until - one way or another - it's over," the administration official wrote.

Warren denied such a move precipitate a constitutional crisis and argued that the op-ed presented a clear need for change in the oval office.

"What kind of a crisis do we have if senior officials believe that the president can't do his job and then refuse to follow the rules that have been laid down in the Constitution?" she asked. "They can't have it both ways. Either they think that the president is not capable of doing his job, in which case they follow the rules in the Constitution, or they feel that the president is capable of doing his job, in which case they follow what the President tells them to do."

The White House came out swinging against the op-ed Wednesday, with Trump calling the author "gutless" and arguing he or she committed an act of treason.

"This coward should do the right thing and resign," White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.

The impact of the op-ed is compounded by the release of excerpts from Watergate journalist Bob Woodward's upcoming book about the inner workings of the Trump administration.

The book includes damaging anecdotes such as Trump calling Attorney General Jeff Sessions "mentally retarded," chief of staff John Kelly calling Trump an "idiot" and former Director of the National Economic Council Gary Cohn removing a letter from Trump's desk to prevent him from pulling out of a trade deal with South Korea.

The 25th Amendment provides a procedure for replacing the president involving his Cabinet sending a letter to Congress explaining why the president should no longer be in office. Congress would then need a two-thirds vote in both chambers to remove the president and replace him with the vice president.

While a handful of Democrats in Congress have discussed impeachment, efforts to remove Trump from office before 2020 have largely been dismissed by Democratic leaders such as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (N.Y.).

Warren, who is running for reelection this year in a race she is expected to easily win, is considered by many to be one of many potential 2020 candidates for president.

Warren has feuded with Trump in the past, emerging as a prominent critic of the administration. Trump in turn has repeatedly dismissed her as "Pocahontas," referring to her controversial claims of having Native American ancestry.

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