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The 4 ways Trump's presidency could end early

A look at the 25th amendment and why it might be more difficult to use in removing a president than impeachment

Talk of removing President Donald Trump from office has stepped up since he fired James Comey as FBI director last week and admitted the “Russia thing” was on his mind when he made the decision.

But removing a president is hard. The two processes outlined in the Constitution require a lot of political ducks to line up perfectly.

The first way that most people think of is impeachment. The last time this country went down that path was with President Bill Clinton. But remember, when the House of Representatives debated Clinton’s articles of impeachment, it was run by Republicans. He was impeached by a simple majority vote. When the Senate debated removing him from office, he was acquitted. Democrats weren’t in control of the Senate, but since it takes 67 senators to remove a president from office and all 45 Democrats voted against removing him from office, Clinton stayed in the Oval Office. Some Republicans also voted against removing him, but the political makeup of the Senate made it easier for Clinton to survive.


The other way is a tactic that’s literally never been tried before in American history, which is utilizing the 25th Amendment’s power to remove a president that is unfit for office.

The second option would require the political world to be even more upside-down than it is now. For this scheme to work, the vice president (whom the president chose) and a majority of the Cabinet (that the president also chose) would have to agree that the president is not fit for office. If they bring that to Congress, then the veep becomes acting president. But the president can just say, “I’m fit for office.” If he does that, the vp and the Cabinet have to send another letter to Congress disagreeing. At that point Congress has to debate it and then two-thirds of the House and two-thirds of the Senate have to agree that the president is unfit.

Let me remind you that Republicans control the House and the Senate right now. So unless the public cries for removal get real loud and poll numbers get real low, neither of these ways of removing the president is super likely. Not at this point, anyway.

This video segment originally aired May 17, 2017, on VICE News Tonight on HBO.