Things That Matter

What Is the 25th Amendment and What Does it Do?: A Primer

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So in case you missed it, some crazy stuff went down at the Capitol yesterday. A mob of far-right Trump supporters broke into the Capitol building in “protest” of Congress ratifying President Elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College votes.

The heinous episode shocked and rattled many Americans. After months of inflammatory rhetoric, President Trump effectively activated his base into violent and treasonous actions. And people are upset. 

Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have since called for Trump’s resignation. But knowing President Trump, it isn’t likely that he’s going to do that.

Because of that, lawmakers have reportedly been having talks to discuss invoking the 25th Amendment.

The 25th Amendment has four sections that dictate what will happen in the event of an acting president being unable to carry out the duties of office. These events have usually amounted to…colonoscopies (no, really). But this time around, lawmakers are looking to the fourth section of the amendment to remove Trump from office. And this is where the wording gets super lawyer-y.

Section Four the 25th Amendment states:

“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.”

Translation: The Vice President, Trump’s cabinet, the Senate leader, and the Speaker of the House would all have to agree to ousting Trump.

It’s a little complicated, so let’s break it down. Vice President Pence and the majority (11 out of 23) of Trump’s cabinet would have to agree that he is unfit for office. Then, they must submit a written request to the “President pro Tempore” of the Senate (who is Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley) as well as the Speaker of the House (California Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi).

But wait, that’s not all. As soon as this motion is enacted, President Trump would be able to contest that decision (which he most definitely would). In that case, VP Mike Pence, Senator Grassley, and Congresswoman Pelosi would have to re-draft another statement insisting that he is, indeed, unfit for office.

Then, two-thirds of both the Senate and the House of Representatives would have to agree with their decision.

Only then would Trump be permanently removed from the presidency.

So, yeah…a lot of steps. But there’s a good reason for that. If removing a president from office were easy, it would be done a lot more often and our democracy would be a lot shakier.

Remember relentlessly hearing about the “checks and balances” of our government in elementary school? This is what our teachers were talking about. A lot of different people in different parts of the government have to sign-off on hard decisions so we can all make sure every action is justified and reasonable.

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Capitol Rioter Drops Request To Travel To Peru After Being Called A Major Flight Risk

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Capitol Rioter Drops Request To Travel To Peru After Being Called A Major Flight Risk

Evelyn Hockstein/Washington Post/Getty Images

You would think that those were involved in the attack on the U.S. Capitol, would have known that there would be consequences to their actions. Consequences like possible jail time, probation, or even a ban on their travel, but apparently not.

A second person charged in the attack on the capitol is now asking a federal judge for permission to leave the country – this time to Peru for his wedding.

A man charged in the U.S. Capitol riot filed a request to travel to Peru.

Troy Williams has been charged with several counts related to the attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6. And although he faces serious consequences for his actions, he’s hoping a federal judge will grant him permission to travel to Peru to marry his fiancée.

Williams told the court in his filing on Tuesday that his fiancé currently lives in Peru and asked for permission to travel there to get married. 

When interviewed by the FBI, Williams admitted to attending the Stop the Steal rally on January 6 and entering the Capitol, though he said he had “no intentions of entering the Capitol building until everyone went inside,” and only entered due to “herd mentality.”

Williams is not the first charged rioter who has asked to leave the country. On February 5, a federal judge granted Jenny Cudd’s request to travel to Mexico for an already planned work-bonding retreat. Directly after she breached the Capitol, Cudd told a local news outlet that she would “do it again”.

Cudd was granted permission to leave the country by Judge Trevor McFadden, a Trump-appointed judge in the US District Court for the District of Columbia.

Original Story Published on February 4, 2021:

In what can only be described as peak white privilege, a woman that was involved in the attack on the U.S. Capitol has asked for permission to go on vacation in Mexico. Not only did she participate in an attempted coup against the United States, but we’re also in the middle of a pandemic that is devastating Mexican communities.

A suspect in the attack on the U.S. Capitol has asked for permission to vacation in Mexico.

Jenny Cudd, a Texas flower shop owner and unsuccessful mayoral candidate from Midland, wrote to a federal judge on Monday asking for permission to visit Mexico’s Riviera Maya (near Cancun), a four-day “bonding retreat” with her employees.

“Prior to the alleged offense at issue, Ms. Cudd planned and prepaid for a weekend retreat with her employees for the dates of February 18 through February 21, 2021, in Riviera Maya, Mexico,” her attorneys wrote. “This is a work-related bonding retreat for employees and their spouses.” 

“Ms. Cudd has no criminal history and is a United States citizen,” Cudd’s attorneys wrote, adding that she is “a small business owner in Midland, Texas and an established member of her community.

USA Today reported Tuesday that the request had been approved, but issued a correction Wednesday saying the federal magistrate had not given her permission for the Feb. 18-21 “work-related bonding retreat” to Riviera Maya with fellow employees and their spouses.

Cudd’s next hearing is scheduled for Thursday, according to the Midland Reporter-Telegram. A federal judge revoked her travel privileges outside the continental U.S. last month and ordered her not to travel to Washington unless it’s related to her case. If convicted on both charges, Cudd reportedly faces up to 18 months in prison and a $100,000 fine.

So, she storms the U.S. Capitol to overthrow democracy and wants a trip to Mexico in return?

Cudd, 36, is facing two misdemeanor charges in the Capitol siege: entering a restricted building and disorderly conduct. She posted a 25-minute Facebook video detailing her actions that day, saying she and other Donald Trump supporters decided to “storm the Capitol” after alleging that then-Vice President Mike Pence “betrayed” her and other “patriots” there.

Cudd claimed she and others didn’t “vandalize anything,” but acknowledged being part of a group that broke into House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office. She later denied all wrongdoing to a Texas news station.

“I did not break any laws,” Cudd told KWES last month. “I went inside the Capitol completely legally and I did not do anything to hurt anybody or destroy any property.”

And she claims that she would do it again! “So what they’re trying to do is cancel me because I stood up for what it is that I believed in,” Cudd told KWES. “And I can tell you this – and I’ve told everybody this – I would do it again in a heartbeat.”

Not to mention, the world is still in the midst of a worldwide pandemic and Mexico is no different.

As if storming the capitol wasn’t enough, Cudd also seems to forget (or simply not care) that the world is still battling the Coronavirus pandemic. Mexico has been hit particularly hard and although the country remains open to tourism, local hospitals are seeing record-breaking occupancy.

So the call remains for everyone to stay at home, including those who attempted a coup against the U.S.

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Stacey Plaskett Stole The Show At Impeachment Hearing While Connecting Trump To Violent Attack On Capitol Building

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Stacey Plaskett Stole The Show At Impeachment Hearing While Connecting Trump To Violent Attack On Capitol Building

Handout / Getty Images

Update Jan. 10, 2020

The second day of Donald Trump’s historic second impeachment is highlighting the rhetoric that led to the horrific insurrection on the U.S. Capitol building on Jan 6. House impeachment managers have laid out a timeline linking Trump and his words to the attack. U.S. Virgin Island Delegate Stacey Plaskett made it all real clear.

The second day of Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial brought to light more violence.

Rep. Joe Neguse highlighted a threat that come from an affidavit highlighting a selfie video. The video was recorded by Dawn Bancroft and threatened direct violence against Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

“We were looking for Nancy to shoot her in the friggin’ brain, but we didn’t find her,” Bancroft said in the video, according to the affidavit.

The impeachment managers really drove home the point that Trump’s attempt to overturn the election laid the groundwork for the coup.

The Trump campaign spent months trying to overturn the election with numerous lawsuits in key swing states. All of the lawsuits were thrown out but that didn’t stop Trump and his campaign from pushing rhetoric that cast doubt on the democratic process. The focus weighed heavily on Michigan.

“Think about it. The President of the United States was calling public officials, calling from the White House, inviting them into the Oval Office, telling them to disenfranchise voters of her state, telling them to overturn the will of the American people,” Rep. Madeleine Dean, a House impeachment manager, said on the Senate floor. “All to take the election for himself.”

Stacey Plaskett caught everyone’s attention with her cape and recalling the Texas highway tape.

There is a lot of talk on Twitter from women celebrating Plaskett for wearing a cape to defend democracy. The first-ever delegate to be a House impeachment manager recalled the video of vehicles with Trump flags trying to run a Biden/Harris bus off the road in Texas.

Trump and other Republicans celebrated the caravan of vehicles that tried to run the Biden/Harris bus off the road. It was a moment in American political history that showed the worst of American voters. Trump tweeted the video the following day saying “I LOVE TEXAS!”

Plaskett took the hand of everyone watching her speak and led them from the Texas highway incident right to the Capitol attack.

Plaskett did not hold back and showed how the attack was coordinated and anything but a secret. The U.S. Virgin Islands representative laid out the path from the caravan to the people who orchestrated the violent attack aiming to overturn a free and fair election.

She also highlighted how the Trump administration was not in the dark about the planned attack. According to Plaskett, the Trump administration was monitoring websites where the attack was being planned. The day before, the FBI sent a warning of a credible threat from extremists in the U.S. Yet, the Trump administration did nothing to stop the attack.

“They posted exact blueprints of the attack openly, loudly, proudly – and they did this all over public forums,” Plaskett said during her remarks. “These were not just hidden posts and dark websites that Trump would not have seen. Quite the opposite. We know President Trump monitored these websites. We know this because his advisers confirm it.”

Original: Former President Donald Trump is making history as the only president in American history to be impeached for a second time. This time, the Senate, with Democrats in the majority, is bringing a full trial against the former president. The historic impeachment started with a startling video of the Jan. 6 insurrection.

The second impeachment trial against former President Donald Trump started with a chilling video of the insurrection.

The 13-minute video shows the terrifying scene at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 and includes parts of the former president’s speech that day during his Stop the Steal rally. The parts of the speech include him calling for the riled-up crowd to march down to the Capitol building while members of Congress were certifying the Electoral College votes.

The video shows Trump supporters fighting with police and causing complete pandemonium. The video is hard to watch and paints a picture of the Jan. 6 insurrection that Americans might not have seen. Using various videos, the impeachment manager, Rep. Jamie Raskin, created a montage of violent imagery with rioters calling for death of Congress members, destruction of the Capitol, and the violent overthrow of the U.S. government.

After the video, Rep. Raskin spoke about what it was like for him to survive the violent siege on the Capitol building. The representative’s son committed suicide one week before the attack and his daughter and son-in-law were with him in the Capitol building on Jan. 6. Like many people in the building during the violent attack, they believed they were going to die.

The opening video has struck a chord with Americans watching.

The insurrection stunned Americans when it happened. Images of elected officials running from the chambers to avoid violence and the threat of death circulated on social media. The impeachment video showed elected officials having to drop to the floor for fear that the terrorists would break through the House and Senate doors.

“People died that day. Officers ended up with head damage and brain damage. People’s eyes were gouged. An officer had a heart attack. An officer lost three fingers that day.,” Rep. Raskin said through tears after showing the video. “Two officers have taken their own lives. Senators, this cannot be our future. This cannot be the future of America. We cannot have presidents inciting and mobilizing mob violence against our government and our institutions because they refuse to accept the will of the people under the Constitution of the United States.”

This is a historic impeachment trial as there has never been a president impeached twice.

Republican Congress members are determined to acquit Trump calling into question the constitutionality of the impeachment trial. Democrats are holding the line and demanding that he be held accountable for inciting the insurrection. Republicans and Trump’s attorneys claim that Democrats have no basis for the impeachment.

The impeachment trial is ongoing and we will update as the process continues.

READ: As The Impeachment Trial Heats Up, Trump’s Defenders Start To Crack Under Pressure

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