Members of US President Donald Trump’s cabinet are considering the possibility of his removal, after he rallied rioters to break into Capitol, only less than two weeks before the end of his term in office.
The US Capitol was assaulted by a violent supporters as it was debating the counting of Electoral College's votes on Wednesday.
The violence overwhelmed police and drove Congress from its chambers. House members and senators fled the scene as shots were fired to disperse the crowd. Police later cleared US Capitol of the Trump supporters and enforced curfew.
Despite calls from inside and outside the building, Trump delayed any call on his backers to get out of the Capitol. Pence, instead, called on them to "immediately leave the building."
This prompted calls for Trump's immediate removal from office as his cabinet members were reportedly discussing the possibility of invoking the 25th amendment to the US Constitution
The amendment allows for a president's removal by the vice-president, if he is judged "unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office."
This would require Pence to lead the cabinet in a vote on removing Trump.
The vice president would need to get a majority of the 14-member cabinet, including himself, to sign a letter declaring the president to be unfit to carry out the powers and duties of the office.
If he does get that cabinet majority, he would be declared the acting president.
Trump, however, is allowed to contest the declaration. If he disputes the claim, two-thirds of the House and the Senate would be required to override Trump and remove him.
Trump accused of attempted coup
“The United States is in the midst of an attempted coup d'etat by Trump and his backers,” CNN wrote on Wednesday, citing unnamed Republican leaders that the amendment had been discussed.
It said that the sources described Trump as "out of control."
In the meantime, Democrats of the House Judiciary Committee sent a letter to the vice president, calling on him to act to remove Trump as he had "sought to undermine our democracy."
Pointing to Trump’s remarks on Wednesday, the letter said he "revealed that he is not mentally sound and is still unable to process and accept the results of the 2020 election."
“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.
Trump encouraged the rioters to gather on Wednesday, calling on them to "be wild."
“We’re going to walk down, and I’ll be there with you,” said Trump. “You’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength, and you have to be strong.”
The Washington Post also echoed calls for Trump’s removal, accusing the president of “sedition.”
"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," wrote the Post.
Democratic lawmaker Ayanna Pressley and Ilhan Omar called for Trump’s impeachment as he “incited this violence.”
Pressley said that Trump “is directly responsible for this attempted coup. He must be impeached and removed from office immediately.”
Omar also said that “Trump should be impeached by the House of Representatives & removed from office by the United States Senate.”
Several other House Democrats are also pursuing another means to remove the president from the White House in order to prevent him “from further endangering our country and our people,” said Democrat lawmaker Katherine Clark.
Several elected Republicans also called for Trump to be removed.
“The fabric of our democracy and the principles of our republic are under attack by the President,” said Republican governor Phil Scott of Vermont.
“President Trump should resign or be removed from office by his Cabinet, or by the Congress,” he wrote on Twitter.
Experts, however, say it is extremely unlikely that Congress could gather enough support to remove Trump.
Four killed on Capitol grounds as bombs found
At least four people were killed on the US Capitol grounds and 52 others arrested, said Metropolitan Police Department Chief Robert J. Contee.
A woman succumbed to injuries after being shot by the police.
Contee declined to identify the woman a Capitol Police officer shot and killed, saying next of kin notification was still pending.
Three other people also died on Wednesday because of medical emergencies, and 14 police officers were injured - two of whom remain hospitalized.
In a late-night news conference, Contee said that 47 of the 52 arrests to date were related to violations of Mayor Muriel Bowser's 6 p.m. curfew, with 26 of those involving people arrested on US Capitol grounds.
Several others were arrested on charges related to carrying unlicensed or prohibited firearms.
Contee said two pipe bombs were recovered from the headquarters of the Republican and Democratic national committees, as well as a cooler from a vehicle on US Capitol grounds that contained Molotov cocktails.