Politics - News Analysis

Mnuchin and Pompeo Discussed Plan to Remove Trump on Jan 6 Using 25th Amendment

There was just one small snag.

On January 6, two of Trump’s highest-ranking Cabinet members were trying to hatch a plan. They were seeking a way to remove Trump from office even before the inauguration of Joe Biden, and they were looking at the 25th Amendment as the way to do it.

That’s according to ABC reporter Jonathan Karl, who says that he learned of the plan while researching his new book.

In the hours following the Capitol riot, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin called up Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to talk about ousting Trump, says Karl. And Pompeo was on board.

In fact, Pompeo actually had his staff looking up the legalities of the 25th Amendment. Although Pompeo has since denied any such conversation occurred, Karl says his sourcing is “rock solid.” Coupled with the fact that neither Secretary would return Karl’s phone calls to confirm or deny it — Pompeo only issued the denial after Karl’s final interview with Trump where he brought up the phone call — it looks like Trump’s closest circle was looking to pull a Caesar on him.

Unfortunately, Mnuchin realized by the next day that using the Constitutional process to remove Trump would take longer than the two weeks he had left in office. After Education and Transportation Secretaries DeVos and Chao resigned, it was hardly worth the legal challenges a 25th Amendment case would almost certainly face.

The 25th, of course, is the process by which a president is declared incompetent to hold office. But it requires Cabinet members to carry it out, or “such other body as Congress may by law provide,” and since Congress had not provided any other recourse already, it would have been up to the now-much-smaller Cabinet to do so.

That made it pointless to pursue, and Mnuchin ultimately did not, nor did he resign himself.

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The problem with all of this, however, isn’t that Mnuchin did nothing in the end. It’s that so many members of Trump’s Cabinet over the preceding 4 years had never done anything at the hundreds of times they could and should have done so.

Andrew Simpson
meet the author

Andrew is a dark blue speck in deep red Southwestern Arizona, writing with the conviction of 17 years at the keyboard and too much politics to even stand. When not furiously stabbing the keys on breaking news stories, he writes poetry, prose, essays, haiku, lectures, stories for grief therapy, wedding ceremonies, detailed instructions on making doughnuts from canned biscuit dough (more sugar than cinnamon — duh), and equations to determine the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow. A wife, three kids, and a grandson round out the story, and in his spare time, Andrew loves to think about how nice it would be to have spare time.


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