Cabinet members discuss Trump's removal after supporters storm Capitol: US media

The discussions focused on the 25th amendment to the US Constitution, which allows for a president's removal by the vice president and cabinet if he is judged "unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office".

FILE: Trump supporters clash with police and security forces as they storm the US Capitol in Washington, DC on 6 January 2021. Donald Trump's supporters stormed a session of Congress held to certify Joe Biden's election win. Picture: AFP

WASHINGTON - Members of President Donald Trump's cabinet on Wednesday discussed the possibility of removing Trump from office after his supporters stormed the Capitol, three US news channels reported.

The action by Trump supporters forced lawmakers to flee to safety and left one woman dead.

The discussions focused on the 25th amendment to the US Constitution, which allows for a president's removal by the vice president and cabinet if he is judged "unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office".

Invoking it would require Vice President Michael Pence to lead the cabinet in a vote on removing him.

CNN quoted unnamed Republican leaders saying the 25th amendment had been discussed, saying they had described Trump as "out of control".

CBS reporter Margaret Brennan said that "nothing formal" had been presented to Pence, and ABC reporter Katherine Faulders said "multiple" sources had told her that discussions took place on the unprecedented move.

Trump's encouragement of the protesters, his unfounded claims that he lost the November 3 presidential election due to massive fraud, and other bizarre behaviour have raised questions about his ability to lead.

While only two weeks remain before President-elect Joe Biden takes office, after the attacks on Congress Wednesday Democratic lawmakers called for invoking the 25th Amendment as well.

Democrats of the House Judiciary Committee sent a letter to Pence urging him to act to remove Trump, saying he had stoked an act of insurrection and "sought to undermine our democracy".

Pointing to a rambling speech Trump gave Wednesday, it said he "revealed that he is not mentally sound and is still unable to process and accept the results of the 2020 election".

Others blamed Trump for fuelling terrorism.

"The President incited a domestic terror attack on the Capitol. He is an imminent threat to our democracy and he needs to be removed from office immediately," said Representative Kathleen Rice in a tweet.

"The Cabinet must invoke the 25th Amendment," she wrote.

The lawmakers' call was echoed by the influential Washington Post.

"Responsibility for this act of sedition lies squarely with the president, who has shown that his continued tenure in office poses a grave threat to US democracy. He should be removed," the Post said.

"The president is unfit to remain in office for the next 14 days. Every second he retains the vast powers of the presidency is a threat to public order and national security," they said.

FORMER PRESIDENTS DENOUNCE CAPITOL VIOLENCE

Every living former US president on Wednesday denounced the violence.

George W. Bush called out fellow Republicans for fueling the "insurrection," likening the situation to a "banana republic".

"I am appalled by the reckless behavior of some political leaders since the election and by the lack of respect shown today for our institutions, our traditions and our law enforcement," Bush's statement said, in a barely veiled swipe at Trump.

Barack Obama also blamed Republicans and Trump, "who has continued to baselessly lie about the outcome of a lawful election," he said in a statement.

Trump's most recent predecessor called the incident "a moment of great dishonor and shame for our nation."

"But we'd be kidding ourselves if we treated it as a total surprise," Obama said, calling the events of the day "the consequences" of Trump and his supporters refusing to accept the results of last year's election.

Bill Clinton denounced the riot as "unprecedented assault" on the US Capitol and the nation itself.

"Today we faced an unprecedented assault on our Capitol, our Constitution, and our country," the Democratic former president said in a statement.

"The match was lit by Donald Trump and his most ardent enablers, including many in Congress, to overturn the results of an election he lost."

And the oldest member of the exclusive club, 96-year-old Democrat Jimmy Carter, said he was "troubled" by Wednesday's scenes, which he called a "national tragedy".

"We join our fellow citizens in praying for a peaceful resolution so our nation can heal and complete the transfer of power as we have for more than two centuries," he said in a statement.

SOCIAL MEDIA SUSPENSION

Meanwhile, Twitter and Facebook suspended Trump on Wednesday over posts accused of inflaming violence in the US Capitol.

The unprecedented sanctions came after the president took to social media to repeat his numerous false claims about fraud and other impropriety in the election he lost to Joe Biden.

"This is an emergency situation and we are taking appropriate emergency measures, including removing President Trump's video," said Facebook vice president of integrity Guy Rosen.

"We removed it because on balance we believe it contributes to rather than diminishes the risk of ongoing violence."

Facebook barred Trump from posting at the social network or its Instagram service for 24 hours, saying his messages were promoting violence.

Trump's falsehoods, ranging from specific allegations to broad conspiracy theories, also prompted Facebook to change a label added to posts aiming to undermine the election results.

The new label reads: "Joe Biden has been elected president with results that were certified by all 50 states. The US has laws, procedures, and established institutions to ensure the peaceful transfer of power after an election.”

An activist group calling itself a mock Facebook oversight board said sanctions against Trump at the social network were long overdue.

"This is too little, too late," the group said in a statement.

"Donald Trump has breached Facebook's own terms and conditions multiple times. His account is not just a threat to democracy but to human life."

PERMANENT TWITTER BAN?

The crackdown came after Trump's supporters stormed the US Capitol in an attack that led to one woman being shot and killed by police, interrupting congressional debate over Biden's election victory.

The assault came after the president had urged supporters to march on the seat of government during a speech outside the White House in which he alleged baselessly that the election had been stolen from him.

He later released a video on social media in which he repeated the false claim - even telling the mob "I love you."

YouTube removed the video in line with its policy barring claims challenging election results.

Twitter said Trump's messages were violations of the platform's rules on civic integrity and that any future violations "will result in permanent suspension of the @realDonaldTrump account."

The messaging platform said Trump's account would be locked for 12 hours and that if the offending tweets were not removed, "the account will remain locked."

Facebook said it would search for and remove content which praised the storming of the Capitol or encouraged the violence.

The platform said it would seek to take down additional calls for protests, including peaceful ones, if they violated a curfew imposed by the city of Washington, or any attempts to "re-stage" the storming of Congress.

"The violent protests in the Capitol today are a disgrace," a Facebook spokesperson said.

"We prohibit incitement and calls for violence on our platform. We are actively reviewing and removing any content that breaks these rules."

Facebook maintained that it was in contact with law enforcement officials and continued to enforce bans on QAnon conspiracy group, militarised social movements, and hate groups.

A #StormTheCapitol hashtag was blocked at Facebook and Instagram, according to the internet titan.

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