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Weber Statement on Efforts to Remove President Trump

Washington, D.C. – Wednesday, January 13, 2021 U.S. Rep. Randy Weber (R-TX-14) issued the following statement on efforts to remove President Donald J. Trump from office. 

"When questions arise about removing a sitting President-whether for incapacitation,
treason, bribery, high crimes, or misdemeanors - the Constitution is explicit. Article II,
Section 1, Clause 6 grants the Vice President the authority to step in should the President
have the "inability to discharge [his] powers and duties." Separately, the 25th
Amendment, Section 4, outlines the procedure for transferring power from the President
to the Vice President when such inability exists. Incapacity due to debilitating illnesses,
injury, or medical procedure was the intended predicate for this provision. Then, once
the President regains full faculties, he may resume his duties with a written statement.

Should there be any doubt regarding the President's capacity - not his willingness - the
Constitution (as amended) affords remedy. Under such extraordinary circumstances,
the Vice President and a majority of either (a) principal executive depa1iment officers
(the Cabinet), or (b) such other body as Congress may provide, may present a written
declaration requesting presidential duties transfer to the Vice President. Congress then
has 48 hours to confirm the inability, with a two-thirds majority in both chambers; if
that threshold is not met, the President resumes his duties.

Yesterday, the House presented such a statement to Vice President Pence. However, the
grounds for incapacity-as stipulated in Article II, Section 1, clause 6 - do not
exist. Rather than claiming that the President is unable to perform his duties, the House
majority is contending that he violated his oath of office. In this circumstance, where the
President is not incapacitated, Congress does not have the constitutional authority
to force the removal of the President by invoking the 25th
Amendment. If the House majority wishes to remove a sitting President for violating his
oath of office, the constitutional authority to do so resides solely in impeachment
proceedings. Today, the House voted on impeaching the President for "incitement
of insurrection."

Our country's origins are rooted in the fundamental principle of free thought and
expression, enshrined in the First Amendment. Because we hold freedom of speech in
such high regard, the legal liability standard to convict someone of incitement is not
easily met.

In 1969, the Supreme Court established the Brandenburg test, which determined that "the
government may prohibit speech advocating the use of force or crime if the speech
satisfies both elements of the two-part test:

    1. The speech is 'directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action,'

    2. the speech is 'likely to incite or produce such action."'

For the Senate to convict President Trump of inciting insurrection, Congress would have
to prove both: that his speech, given prior to the storming of the Capitol, incited
violence, and, that he was aware his words would produce such an outcome. It is my
opinion, given the legal precedent, the incitement test, recent reports stating the Capitol
siege was premeditated and planned on Facebook, President Trump's speech does not
appear to meet the incitement standard.

At a time when our nation is sorely divided, we must fight the urge to further fan the
flames of unrest. President Trump has only seven days remaining in his term. This
desire of some in Congress to impeach President Trump is at best, ill-advised. At worst,
plainly irresponsible. Rather than mitigating additional acts of violence, this act would
merely antagonize half of the electorate and recklessly embolden the other half.

Every sitting member of Congress swore an oath to uphold the Constitution. Given
the clear language of the Constitution, I believe that to have voted to invoke the 25th
Amendment and now to impeach the President would violate my oath,
while causing additional division and unnecessary unrest. The time for healing
and reconciliation should have begun long ago but can begin now. For the next seven
days, I encourage all citizens of this great nation to set aside political differences, in
pursuit of the domestic tranquility that our founders envisioned. "To whom much is
given, much is required."

As Americans, we are all in this together.