WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — Maine Independent Sen. Angus King and Rep. Chellie Pingree are suggesting Vice President Mike Pence consider invoking the 25th Amendment and remove President Donald Trump from office before Jan. 20.
They join dozens of other members of Congress, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who have publicly called for Trump's removal in the wake of Wednesday's violent insurrection at the Capitol.
In a statement shared with NEWS CENTER Maine Thursday afternoon, King said invoking the 25th Amendment is an unprecedented step and "a grave constitutional responsibility that should not be taken lightly."
"[H]owever," he continued, "given the actions of the President over the last several days and concern about additional impulsive actions that could endanger the country between now and January 20th, I think this step is one that the Vice President and the Cabinet should consider. As they do so, they should weigh not only the current danger to the country but the consequences that may come to bear if they choose inaction.”
Pingree shared a video message from outside the Capitol building Thursday morning, recounting the chaos that left four dead, and dozens injured and arrested. She said, "We need to impeach him, invoke the 25th Amendment, and remove him from office."
The 25th Amendment allows for the vice president and a majority of the Cabinet to declare the president unfit for office. The vice president then becomes acting president.
At a press conference Thursday afternoon, Pelosi said "this is urgent" and Trump is a "very dangerous person" and needs to be removed before President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration.
Pelosi said that if Vice President Pence and Trump's Cabinet don't act, then Congress may move forward with impeaching Trump again.
Pingree said she is co-sponsoring two House impeachment resolutions, one presented by Rep. Ilhan Omar, and another by Reps. David Cicilline, Ted Lieu, and Jamie Raskin.
"If the Vice President and Cabinet do not act to remove this dangerous President with the 25th amendment, Congress must act," Pingree said.
Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins has so far been mum on the topic of the 25th Amendment. After Congress reconvened to finish certifying the Electoral College votes, in a speech on the Senate floor Collins condemned the violence and rejected the challenges to the votes.
With less than two weeks remaining in President Trump's term, however, many are wondering if there's enough time to push forward articles of impeachment or invoke the 25th Amendment.
"I know that invoking the 25th Amendment is logistically possible," said University of Maine professor of political science Mark Brewer. "I know there are some other people talking about removing the president via the impeachment process. That I think would be logistically very difficult to see happening."
Brewer has been a political science professor with the University of Maine system since 2004, with research focuses surrounding political behavior, with specific research areas including partisanship and electoral behavior.
Brewer says the impeachment process can be a lengthy one, making it difficult to complete a full investigation and vote before the end of the term. He believes logistically, that invoking the 25th Amendment would be possible, but did not speculate on if it's something that may happen within this administration's cabinet.
"If the cabinet decided it was warranted, that could happen relatively quickly, within an hour or two. And even if the President did dispute, all of that could take place within a relatively short period of time," said Brewer.