25th Amendment No, Impeachment Yes

I am in about 90 percent agreement with Andy McCarthy here. The 25th Amendment is meant to apply to a president who is incapacitated. Donald Trump may not be completely stable, but invoking the 25th Amendment against him would set a dangerous precedent. A president unwilling to discharge his duties properly – and Trump’s dereliction of duty in refusing to grant additional support to the DC police was disgraceful – is not the same thing as a president who can’t discharge his duties.

Impeachment and conviction is the only proper remedy in this case. I am sympathetic to McCarthy’s pragmatic considerations that removal would only inflame the situation. At the same time, should we permit the mob to hinder us from taking appropriate action? Moreover, failure to act now would itself be a terrible precedent. The president of the United States just about called for a coup. If this isn’t the time to impeach and remove a president, when is the right time?

I thought impeachment was not the right call after the Ukraine imbroglio (and may have weakened the chances of impeachment and removal now), but here there should be no doubt of its appropriateness in this circumstance. That Donald Trump will be out of office in twelve days should not factor into Congress’ considerations. Congress needs to reclaim its authority, and this is the perfect opportunity to do so.

Practically speaking, it won’t happen overnight. The House could probably deliver articles of impeachment within 24 hours, but even if every Senator wanted to vote to convict – and that certainly won’t be the case – there are certain procedural protocols that would prevent the Senate from simply voting to convict. If the House got the ball rolling right now, President Trump would probably not be removed (assuming a conviction, which is admittedly a 50/50 proposition at best) for another 5-7 days.

Keep in mind that impeachment is not limited to current office holders. President Trump could still be impeached and convicted after January 20, and there is merit to a post-presidency conviction.

Whether any of this will come to pass is an an open question. Impeachment is a near certainty, but as I said, removal may not be likely. Regardless, it is what should happen.