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Spanberger, Warner, Kaine: Invoke 25th Amendment
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Spanberger, Warner, Kaine: Invoke 25th Amendment

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U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger is calling for President Donald J. Trump to be removed from office, as provided for by the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Similarly. U.S. Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner of Virginia earlier on Thursday called for the president’s removal via the 25th Amendment,

“On January 6, the President provoked an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol as Members of the House and Senate met to formally recognize the results of the 2020 election," Spanberger, who represents Central Virginia's 7th Congressional District, said in a statement Thursday night.

She said she was responding to Trump’s "incitement of an armed insurrection against the United States of America."

"After months of fomenting anger and division and trafficking in conspiracy theories meant to maintain his grasp on power, the President of the United States called on his supporters to go to the U.S. Capitol, resulting in an act of domestic terrorism," Spanberger said. "As people throughout the Capitol sheltered, police struggled to regain control, and far-right extremists brought terror and destruction to the U.S. Capitol, the President of the United States made no effort to stop the attack he had incited—nd instead, he told rioters he loved them.

“I was in the House Chamber when the attack occurred. I witnessed firsthand the results of the President’s anti-democratic and un-American efforts to maintain control at any cost, and as a consequence of his efforts, he must be removed from office," she said. "The removal of a sitting President is a grave action that should not be taken lightly. However, the President’s ongoing—and unchecked—quest to subvert our democracy, thwart the will of the people, and instigate violence requires immediate action.

"I call on Vice President Pence and the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment to protect our country," the Democratic legislator said. "However, if the Vice President fails to act, it will become necessary for every Member of Congress bound by our constitutional oaths to take further action. If we refuse to respond to a U.S. President inciting an uprising against our democracy, we risk losing it forever.”

Earlier Thursday, Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., urged the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment against President Trump. Kaine also called for an investigation into Capitol Police’s response to the riot.

“I believe that the Cabinet, led by the vice president, should invoke the 25th Amendment. Donald Trump is no longer able to serve,” Kaine said in a Zoom news conference with reporters.

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In a separate news conference, Warner also called for the president’s removal. “I absolutely believe it should be on the table,” Warner said.

He said he has been in contact with members of the Trump Cabinet with whom he has relationships and has urged them to decide “how they want to be recorded by history,” and “whether they want to be enablers.”

“Those members of the Trump Cabinet who have any conscience or any sense of obligation to rule of law, I do think it’s incumbent upon them to act or to at least resign and not be part of this travesty that is playing out before our eyes,” Warner said. “Whether that will take place, I’m not sure.”

Warner, who is in line to head the Senate Intelligence Committee, angrily called the assault on the Capitol a “desecration.” He called for an investigation into the security breakdown at the U.S. Capitol and said Congress should “come down hard on the social media companies who have turned a blind eye to the preaching of hate and white supremacy and nationalism.”

Kaine and Warner joined a growing chorus of fellow Democrats, including Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California, in calling for Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the president’s removal under the constitutional provision that would require the vice president and a majority of the Cabinet to say that the president cannot fulfill his presidential duties.

“Bluntly, this was a Donald Trump-inspired disaster,” Kaine said.

He said that together with “his mismanagement of the pandemic,” his “idiotic” veto of the defense spending bill — which Congress overrode — and his “foolish antics” that Kaine said cost the GOP its Senate majority, “This Trump-inspired riot yesterday will be his legacy and he will be remembered for the rest of American history for death, division and depression.”

Kaine said he does not think Trump plans to attend President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20, but he said Congress should formally declare that Trump is not welcome.

Virginia’s four Republican members of Congress, all of whom backed challenges to the electoral results, joined Democratic colleagues in denouncing the attack on the Capitol, but did not call for Trump’s removal.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch contributed to this report.

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Clint Schemmer, a journalist since 1980, has worked at papers in California, North Carolina and Virginia. He’s been a bureau chief, editorial-page editor, copy desk chief and local news editor. Now a staff writer at the Culpeper Star-Exponent.

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