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How Does The 25th Amendment Work?

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) - The talk about removing President Trump from office continues to gain supporters in Washington. Several Members of Congress, including two Republicans and the Speaker of the House, former Cabinet officials, a leading business group, and the Editorial Board of the Washington Post have all called for invoking the 25th Amendment.

"Never until the past 24 hours have I ever been told the highest levels of the Trump administration are indeed discussing it," reported Face The Nation Anchor Margaret Brennan.

The 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified in 1967, following the assassination of President Kennedy. It not only more clearly determines the Presidential line of succession, but also what happens if a President is incapacitated in office. According to the Congressional Research Service, the amendment's authors said it was "not intended to facilitate the removal of an unpopular or failed President."

The Amendment requires the Vice President and a majority of Cabinet members to provide a written declaration to the Senate and the House "that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office."

It's been invoked three times for Presidents – twice for President George W. Bush for routine colonoscopies and once for President Ronald Reagan during colon surgery. Each time was temporary and voluntary.

"That's what makes this fascinating here," said Hamline University constitutional law expert David Schultz. "Could it be physical? Could it be emotional or mental? Could it cognitive? Could it be at the end of the day, we don't trust his judgement? This is an open question regarding exactly what this means."

The President would have an opportunity and four days to appeal. If that were to happen, the Vice-President, a majority of the Cabinet members, and two thirds of Congress would have to agree to remove the President.

"If we haven't seen movement on this issue today, it's probably going to fall victim to the calendar," CBS News Correspondent Ed O' Keefe reported on CBS This Morning Thursday.

Schultz said legal experts don't know exactly how it'd all play out were it to happen. "We've never had a Vice-President say about the President, we don't think you can do your job anymore," he said.

If the 25th Amendment is invoked, President Trump could run again in four years, but if he were impeached and convicted, he would no longer be eligible for office.

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