25th Amendment Could End Trump Presidency-Truth!

Summary of eRumor:

Congress could use a little known provision of the 25th Amendment to prevent Donald Trump from taking office, or to cut his term in office short, by declaring him “unfit” for the presidency.

The Truth:

It’s true that President-elect Donald Trump’s cabinet or Congress could exercise a section of the 25th amendment to declare him unable to discharge his duties and effectively end his presidency.

The Hill first reported on the 25th Amendment ending a (then potential) Trump presidency back in August after he appeared to encourage Russian hackers to steal emails from Hillary Clinton’s time as secretary of state:

The 25th Amendment was ratified in 1967, as a clarification to Article II, Section 1, Clause 6 of the U.S. Constitution. The 25th Amendment deals with the succession of the Presidency, especially at a time when the sitting President becomes unable, incapable or unfit to perform the duties of his or her office. It also establishes procedures to fill a vacancy left by the Vice President. It is essentially a safeguard against a president who runs amuck, or who goes insane, or who cannot fulfill his or her duties as commander and chief and leader of the union of 50 states.

Specifically, Article II, Section IV of the 25th Amendment outlines a process for “a majority of executive departments” or “such other body as Congress” could basically declare the president unfit to hold office:

Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.

Under that scenario, the president could then submit in writing to Congress that “no inability exists” and “he shall resume the powers and duties of his office” unless “principal officers of the executive department” submit a written declaration that the president is unable to discharge his duties. Then, Congress would have the last say on the issue:

Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty-eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty-one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within twenty-one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two-thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office.

So, it’s true that Trump’s cabinet or Congress could cut short his time in office by declaring him unfit to discharge his duties. However, claims that the 25th Amendment could prevent a Trump presidency from happening at all seem shaky given that the 25th Amendment refers only to a sitting president, not a president-elect.

A real example of the eRumor as it has appeared on the Internet:

Collected on: 12/01/2016

screen-shot-2016-12-01-at-10-31-01-am