After weeks of pushing Mike Pence to overturn the election, US President Donald Trump did not mince his words in his final conversation with him before last week’s riots.
White House sources told the New York Times, Trump had pressed Pence relentlessly, alternately cajoling and browbeating him, to get his way.
In a final conversation, Trump reportedly said: “You can either go down in history as a patriot, or you can go down in history as a pussy.”
The two are reportedly on better terms this week, and today Pence officially rejected a plan to oust Trump.
Democrats were calling on him to use the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from power, but Pence said he would not do it and told the Democrats to back down. He accused them of playing “political games at a time so serious in the life of our Nation”.
In a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Pence said the 25th Amendment should not be used “as a means of punishment or usurpation” – rather it should be reserved for cases of medical or mental incapacitation.
“Now with just eight days left in the President’s term, you and Democratic Caucus are demanding that the Cabinet and I invoke the 25th Amendment. I do not believe that such a course of action is in the best interest of our Nation or consistent with our Constitution,” Pence wrote.
He said he will not “yield to political pressure to exert pressure beyond my constitutional authority to determine the outcome of the election, and I will not now yield to efforts in the House of Representatives to play political games at a time so serious in the life of our Nation.”
He also wrote that invoking the 25th Amendment “in such a manner would set a terrible precedent.”
He urged Pelosi and all members of Congress to “lower the temperature and unite our country as we prepare to inaugurate President-elect Joe Biden.”
Meanwhile it’s expected roughly 20 Republicans in the House of Representatives expected to vote to impeach Donald Trump.
Three Senior Republicans in the House have already broken ranks this morning saying they will vote against the president tomorrow.
However, White House officials who spoke to both CNN and Fox News now expect as many as 20 or more Republicans to vote for impeachment.
One of CNN’s sources says 10 and 25 House GOP members will defect from President Trump. Fox reports there could be up to 20 defections.
Republican Conference chair Liz Cheney – the third-ranking GOP leader in the House –said she will vote to impeach Trump saying there’s “never been a greater betrayal” by a president.
Last time Trump was impeached, the vote had no support from Republicans.
Trump won’t resign
A source close to the President has told CNN that ahead of his impending (potential) impeachment, he is not considering resigning, adding “he won’t do that”.
“Resignation means admitting failure,” another senior White House adviser said. “So, no.”
They added that the current thinking is the Senate does not have enough time to convict Trump, believing he’ll “make it to the end of his term without that kind of humiliation”.
“We will get through the 20th and move on,” the adviser said.
Vote to invoke the 25th amendment
The House has voted and approved a resolution calling for Trump to be removed from office through the 25th amendment in the wake of last week’s siege of the US Capitol.
The resolution called on Pence “to immediately use his powers under section 4 of the 25th Amendment to convene and mobilise the principal officers of the executive departments in the Cabinet to declare what is obvious to a horrified nation: That the President is unable to successfully discharge the duties of his office”.
Pence already said he wouldn’t do it – so this vote was a “symbolic rebuke to the President”, rather than one that would achieve any action.
However, the House will resume at 9am (local time) tomorrow to begin the impeachment vote.
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