Vice president refuses to kickstart process to remove Trump from office

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence has refused to use the 25th amendment to remove President Donald Trump from office.

In a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Mr Pence said it should not be used “as a means of punishment or usurpation” and should be reserved for cases of medical or intellectual disability.

Ms Pelosi had urged Mr Pence to force a cabinet vote to declare Mr Trump incapacitated – less than a week after the violent uprising in the Capitol.

Mr. Pence encouraged Congress to avoid taking action to “further divide and rekindle the passions of the moment” and focus on facilitating the transition to President-elect Joe Biden’s administration.

Following Mr. Pence’s decision not to apply the 25th Amendment against the President, Ms. Pelosi said Mr. Trump must be charged with the “seditious attack” on the Capitol.

“I urge my Republican colleagues to open their eyes and finally hold this president accountable. The history of our country and the future of our democracy are at stake, ”she added.

Despite Mr Pence’s letter, following the steps of four Republicans, a decision to appeal the 25th amendment will be voted on.

Earlier, Mr Trump warned lawmakers against impeachment, suggesting it was the urge to oust him that divides the country.

“In order to continue down this path, I think that this poses a tremendous threat to our country and an enormous anger,” said Trump.

In his first remarks to reporters since last week’s violence, the outgoing president offered no condolences to the dead or injured, simply saying, “I don’t want violence”.

The house will now quickly move to impeachment on Wednesday.

The president faces a single charge in the impeachment ruling after the worst and deadliest domestic incursion into the Capitol in the country’s history – “incitement to rebellion.”

Although a handful of House Republicans will be voting for the impeachment vote, it is far from clear that there would be two-thirds of the votes required for a conviction from the tightly-divided Senate.

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