Speed Reads

Drama in D.C.

Trump has reportedly been 'ranting about Pence,' who could still effectively fire him

President Trump cannot fire Vice President Mike Pence. But Pence could play a big part in immediately ending Trump's term.

Removing Trump via the 25th Amendment, "a move, long dismissed as a liberal fantasy," is one of a handful of options being considered by shaken Trump allies, Axios said Wednesday night, confirming earlier reports. Republicans are furious with Trump for "fomenting an attack on American democracy" by sending a mob to sack the U.S. Capitol, as well as his leading role in ending GOP control of the Senate, and "there's concern about whether the country can withstand another two weeks with Trump at the helm."

Republicans are also discussing censuring Trump, which would do little, and removing him via impeachment, Axios says. "The 25th Amendment route would require buy-in from Pence and a majority of Trump's Cabinet. But many of those Cabinet members also have been loyalists to the president and serve in acting capacities, so it's not clear that support or will exists." On the other hand, "Trump has been ranting about Pence" and his ceremonial role in finalizing President-elect Joe Biden's win, sources tell Axios.

If removed under the never-used Section 4 of the 25th Amendment, "Trump can't just take his powers back immediately and fire all the Cabinet officers who sought to sideline him," George Conway explained.

The idea of removing Trump with 13 days left in his term is not yet being embraced by House or Senate GOP leaders, Axios says,"and it's too soon to know whether those talking about them are just letting off steam after a shock to the democracy, or whether a critical mass exists to proceed." But Pence looked pretty irritated and maybe even a little presidential when he reconvened the congressional count of Biden's electoral victory after police removed the pro-Trump mob from the Capitol.

"I've known Mike Pence forever," Sen James Inhofe (R-Okla.) told the Tulsa World on Tuesday night, after a day of public abuse by Trump. "I've never seen Pence as angry as he was today. I had a long conversation with him," he added. "He said, 'After all the things I've done for (Trump).'"