The New York Times reported Friday that Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinTrump turns his ire toward Cabinet members Ex-deputy attorney general says Justice Dept. ‘will ignore’ Trump’s threats against political rivals The Hill’s Morning Report – Sponsored by Facebook – Trump’s erratic tweets upend stimulus talks; COVID-19 spreads in White House MORE proposed secretly recording conversations in the Oval Office with President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden campaign slams Facebook after thousands of ads blocked by platform’s pre-election blackout Mnuchin says he learned of Pelosi’s letter to him about stimulus talks ‘in the press’ Harris to travel to Texas Friday after polls show tie between Trump, Biden MORE last year and discussed the possibility of Cabinet officials invoking the 25th Amendment to remove him.
But what is the 25th Amendment? And how does it work?
The 25th Amendment was ratified in the aftermath of President Kennedy’s assassination and is primarily intended to define the presidential order of succession.
It is divided into four articles to describe the different scenarios under which a president would leave office.
The first article explains that if a president dies, resigns or is removed from office, the vice president would immediately become the president. This was used when President Nixon resigned and was replaced by Vice President Ford.
The second article explains that if a vacancy arises for vice president, the president will nominate a replacement, who will take office once confirmed by majorities in both chambers of Congress. This was used when Vice President Ford picked Nelson Rockefeller to be his new vice president.
The third article allows the president to temporarily delegate responsibilities to the vice president, who operates as the acting president until the president informs congressional leaders he is able to resume executing the office’s duties. Presidents often use this article when undergoing medical operations.
The fourth article, which was the one Rosenstein reportedly discussed using, creates a process for the president’s removal from office.
Under this article, the vice president and cabinet officials would vote on the removal of the president. If the majority votes for removal, then a letter is sent to the president pro tempore of the Senate, now Sen. Hatch (R-Utah), and Speaker of the House, now Rep. Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanMcCarthy faces pushback from anxious Republicans over interview comments Pelosi and Trump go a full year without speaking Jordan vows to back McCarthy as leader even if House loses more GOP seats MORE (R-Wis.), informing them of their vote.
The president could send a counter-letter saying he is capable of performing his duties, allowing the president to continue work as usual, unless the vice president and cabinet send another letter within four days restating their case. Under such circumstances, the vice president would become the acting president while Congress votes.
Both houses of Congress would have to vote within 21 days in this case, and a two-thirds vote from each chamber is required to remove the president from office and fully institute the vice president as the replacement. If the vote in either chamber was to fall short, the president would resume his duties.
The fourth article has never been used.