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Retiring Senator Jeff Flake says impeaching Donald Trump isn't 'the direction to go'

'I do think members of Congress ought to speak out', Mr Flake said 

Alexandra Wilts
Washington DC
Wednesday 25 October 2017 15:55 BST
Jeff Flake: "A lot more" senators will speak out against trump

Outgoing Republican Senator Jeff Flake, who has harshly rebuked Donald Trump, has said he is not leading a drive to impeach the President.

When announcing that he would not run for reelection in 2018, Mr Flake told Republicans it was time to stop allowing Mr Trump to get away with “reckless, outrageous and undignified behaviour”, suggesting that the President’s actions “were dangerous to democracy”.

CBS anchor Norah O'Donnell asked Mr Flake if he thought Mr Trump should be removed from office.

“You seem to be igniting a movement,” Ms O'Donnell said. “You write, it is time to take a stand against Trump. If he is dangerous to democracy, as you say, should he be removed from office?”

Mr Flake responded: “I don't think any of those remedies are justified, I really don't. High crimes, misdemeanours, people talk about impeachment on the left, I don't think that's the direction to go. Nor do I think the 25th amendment is either.”

“I do think members of Congress ought to speak out,” he added.

The 25th Amendment says that the vice president and a majority of Cabinet members can jointly declare that a president is unfit to serve. Two-thirds of both the House and Senate would have to vote to remove the president in the event the president refused to cede the Oval Office to the vice president.

In comparison, impeachment proceedings are initiated by Congress. If at least one article of impeachment receives support from a majority of members in the House of Representatives, the president is technically impeached.

The issue then moves to the Senate, which conducts a trial presided over by the Supreme Court's chief justice. If two-thirds of senators find the president guilty, he is removed and the vice president becomes president.

A few Democrats have expressed support for the idea of trying to remove Mr Trump from office, and one has already introduced articles of impeachment.

Representative Al Green took to the House floor earlier this month to say that Mr Trump’s response to neo-Nazi violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, his attack on NFL players who knelt during the national anthem in protest, and his debunked claim that Barack Obama had wire-tapped him, had all undermined the integrity of the Oval Office and “brought disrepute on the presidency”.

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