Samantha Chavarria
July 18, 2018 2:41 pm

After both the CIA and FBI publicly confirmed suspicions that Russian hackers interfered with the 2016 presidential election, it seems reasonable that President Donald Trump would have condemned the foreign meddling. However, that wasn’t the case. Instead, Trump sided with Russian president Vladimir Putin and dismissed the reports during a summit in Helsinki, Finland on Monday, July 16th.

Almost immediately, #25thAmendmentNow began trending on Twitter in response to what politicians and citizens on both sides of the aisle called “treason.”

The 25th Amendment has to do with presidential succession, as well as who takes over if a president is deemed unfit to lead. It’s rarely been invoked in our nation’s history.

Before the 25th Amendment passed, presidential succession was more of a grey area than it is today, and the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963 forced the government to outline a more specific approach to the process. In 1967, Congress approved the new amendment, which outlined the process for declaring a president unfit to serve as well as how he or she should be replaced.

So far, the 25th Amendment has been used only once to replace a president permanently. After Richard Nixon’s resignation, it was enacted so that then Vice President Gerald Ford could take office. However, the 25th was also used three times by two sitting presidents during times when their own health affected their ability to do their job.

President Ronald Reagan enacted the 25th Amendment to temporarily have Vice President George Bush Sr. act as president while he underwent a colon procedure. President George W. Bush also relied on the 25th for health-related reasons twice during his two terms as president (Vice President Dick Cheney was technically acting president for a little over five hours total). It may seem extreme to temporarily replace the president for only a few hours, but in instances like these, it’s a matter of national security to have a president with an able body and sound mind.

Now, could Trump actually be removed by invoking the 25th Amendment?

Removing Trump using the 25th would require the majority of his personally selected cabinet and his Vice President to agree that he is no longer mentally fit to serve. They would then need to make a public declaration in writing and send it to Congress.

Congress would then order the president to be evaluated for mental fitness. At that point, Trump would likely contest the Cabinet’s position in writing (and preferably not in the form of a Twitter rant.) It would then be Congress’ job to vote on the president’s fitness at that time. A two-thirds vote of both the House and the Senate would be required to remove the President from office within 21 days.

Obviously, there are a lot of unknowns and changing variables. At this point, the best we can do as private citizens is dissect new daily revelations and look at the facts.

We know there was Russian interference in the 2016 election. We know our president was quick to believe a foreign leader over U.S. intelligence. And we know this isn’t normal behavior for an American president.

Basically, while unlikely, it’s definitely possible that Trump — or any president — could be removed if those close to him or her deem it necessary. And only time will tell on this one…

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