on the table
January 10, 2021

Things have reportedly not been going well between President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence since Wednesday's deadly Capitol riot.

As of Saturday night, the two men, who have for more than four years enjoyed a publicly harmonious relationship, had not spoken since the incident — Trump is reportedly angry at Pence for not blocking the Electoral College certification (a power which he does not have), while Pence has finally "gotten a glimpse" of the president's "vindictiveness," a source told CNN.

Still, Pence doesn't seem inclined to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump, an unprecedented act that would require support from the majority of the Cabinet. Pence instead prefers, per CNN, to focus on providing a helpful "bridge" to President-elect Joe Biden, whose inauguration he plans to attend, unlike Trump.

But while his preference may be to run out the clock until Jan. 20, a source close to Pence told CNN the vice president has not taken the 25th Amendment route off the table and is keeping an eye on whether Trump becomes more unstable. The decision, the source reportedly said, will ultimately depend on Trump's actions over the next few days. Read more at CNN. Tim O'Donnell

April 30, 2019

Former Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday suggested Congress might have to launch impeachment proceedings if President Trump blocks their investigations.

Biden spoke with Good Morning America about the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report, saying parts of it are "left undone" and that Congress must investigate.

"And if, in fact, they block the investigation, they have no alternative than to go to the only other constitutional resort they have, [which] is impeachment," Biden said.

For now, Biden said his job is to "make sure [Trump is] not back as president of the United States of America."

Prior to the release of the Mueller report, Biden had said Democrats should not impeach Trump, saying in October, "I hope they don't. I don't think there's a basis for doing that right now," Politico reports.

But while Democratic leaders had held off on calling for impeachment after the release of the Mueller report, The Washington Post on Monday reported that the Trump administration's lack of cooperation with their investigations, including Attorney General William Barr's threat not to show up to testify before Congress, some Democrats are beginning to rethink that — and it sounds like Biden may be one of them. Brendan Morrow

October 29, 2018

When it comes to taking extreme measures in response to the approaching caravan of migrants from Central America, the White House isn't ruling anything out.

During the press briefing Monday afternoon, a reporter asked White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders whether the administration might consider suspending habeas corpus, or protection from arbitrary imprisonment, to deal with the caravan, noting that the Constitution allows for this in the case of a true invasion. Trump earlier in the day referred to the caravan of migrants as an "invasion," which critics dispute given many migrants' intention to legally request asylum at a port of entry. The reporter also asked if Trump might ignore the Posse Comitatus Act and send the military to the border to conduct domestic police functions. Sanders hedged, simply saying the White House is "looking at a number of different options."

As Sanders attempted to move on, the reporter asked her to clarify that these are, in fact, options on the table. "I'm not going to get into specific policies that we're considering," she responded. "There's a number of actions that we're looking at taking."

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen similarly said last week that "every possible action is on the table" to stop the migrants, reassuringly noting that there's no intention to shoot at migrants "right now."

To be fair, though, Vox's Dara Lind points out that suspending habeas corpus "doesn't map onto any proposal I've heard about" in regard to dealing with the migrants, suggesting Sanders maybe just "wasn't prepared for" the question. Watch Sanders' comment below. Brendan Morrow

May 19, 2017

Three Republican bills reviewed in the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday come "straight out of the Donald Trump mass deportation playbook," Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) told his colleagues.

If passed, the bills under consideration "would see immigration violations traditionally treated as civil infractions transformed into criminal violations, punishable by up to 20 years in prison," and strip recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) of protections "because they are in the country while knowingly in violation of the law," The Intercept writes.

Additionally, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers would be equipped with assault rifles, Tasers, and body armor:

Deportation officers on the ground would inherit new arrest powers under the proposed legislation, including the power to arrest immigrants accused of criminal or civil offenses without a warrant, even if the agency determines those individuals are not "likely to escape before a warrant can be obtained." Under the bill, those deportation officers would be heavily armed, with each officer issued "high-quality body armor" and "at a minimum, standard-issue handguns, M–4 (or equivalent) rifles, and Tasers." [The Intercept]

The bills could "turn millions of Americans into criminals overnight," Nadler protested to the committee members. Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) defended the bills, which are in line with President Trump's campaign promises, saying they "decisively [deliver] the immigration enforcement tools that ICE, its officers, and all of us need in order to show the obstructionists, the criminal aliens, and all those who benefit from a culture of lawlessness that breaking our immigration laws will no longer be tolerated." Jeva Lange

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